As the modern world shifts away from fossil fuels energy, renewable energy has seen a significant boost in recent years. Solar, for example, has become very popular in the world over. People have also become wary and conscious of the environment, especially with the increased global warming concerns. This has seen most countries and organizations advocate for solar energy and other renewable energy sources.
Major world meetings such as the G-7 summit has been putting the issue of climate change and global warming on the forefront. This has seen the costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) installation reduce to an all-time low to encourage more people to make the switch. The prices of solar panels have also significantly reduced. Most of these installations go up on the rooftops due to the unused and open spaces that will harness free sunshine best. However, not all commercial and residential property provides the ideal type of roof for installing solar panels. This could be as a result of excessive shading from nearby buildings and trees, the roof facing the wrong direction, obstacles such as chimneys and vents that limit the space and insufficient space. For this reason, numerous solar customers are exploring ground mount solar in California and other areas around the globe. And Small Energy Bill can help you with that.
Just as the name suggests, ground-mounted solar systems are PV systems that have been securely installed onto the ground rack as opposed to the rooftop. This is one of the most significant innovation areas within the solar. As the technology evolves, scientists are coming up with different types of ground solar panels to increase efficiency and meet specific client’s needs. To homeowners, the installation goes up in your garden, back or side yard if you have space. Below are the different types of ground mounted solar panels.
The ground-mounted solar systems typically work the same. The systems are anchored to the ground holding a large number of stacked panels. In most cases, two rails are supporting each panel whether oriented in portrait or landscape. Ground anchoring is the hardest part of the installation due to the different foundation types.
For example, steel beams are anchored into the ground where the racking system is attached to the poles in case the soil is clear of debris. When the field is not capable of handling smoothly anchored beams, the anchor systems used include ground screws and helical piles. These installations can take a long time as they require to go through large debris and boulders.
It is, however, worth noting that ground-mounted solar systems do not always have to penetrate the ground. Underused lands areas such as brownfields and capped landfills with temperamental ground conditions that cannot be disturbed require the use of solar arrays. These arrays are ballasted on the ground with concrete blocks holding the systems in place.
The solar canopies and carports are the tall ground mounts. They are most common in commercial buildings such as business campuses and schools. The large solar panels are supported overhead by large steel beams. The size of the carports and canopies depend on the size of the project. Most of the systems built on parking spots come with electric vehicle charging stations as a bonus for the clients.
Installers and developers have turned to track systems to improve energy output. Tracking systems, just as the name suggests, are motorized ground mounts that track the sun throughout the day. This ensures that the solar panels are facing the sun all the time.
Tracking systems can either be single or dual-axis depending on the clamping or bolting type. Single-axis span panels on long rows and follow the sun from east to west. Dual-axis separate the tables of panels following the sun on a circular path for efficient energy output. They also use two motor distinctions which are centralized and distributed.
Commonly referred to as floatovoltaics, the floating solar systems float of water and have become very popular in Asia, Europe, and the United States. The numerous water bodies can be used to provide surfaces to solar panels. Although they are not anchored to the ground ideally, they borrow many traits of the ground-mounted solar systems. The floating systems are made of a plastic type linked together to form a mat where solar panels are positioned at a degree just like in the flat roof systems.
The most straightforward advantage of the ground-mounted PV systems is the fact that you can acquire solar energy even when your property cannot accommodate the traditional rooftop solar panels. Without space limitation, the ground-mounted PV system allows for maximum investment, especially in a large installation. The system also provides for the maximum optimization of the orientation and position of the panels leading to more energy output. This, in turn, leads to savings of huge monthly utility bills. If you’re concerned about PV panel aesthetics, the ground-mounted solar panels allow you to install your panels in less conspicuous locations that are not visible. Besides, the ground-mounted solar system can be designed in a way that it doubles as a shaded carport. Other advantages include better efficiency, ease of maintenance, future expansion, and panel longevity.
Just like in any system, the ground-mounted solar panels have their share of shortcomings. One is that they require foundations to stabilize the system as well as underground wiring. This implies more time and cost spent on the installation process. The systems are also potentially more vulnerable to vandalism and theft, unlike the rooftop systems. It is always advisable to ask yourself if the ground-mounted solar PV system is right for you. This is because, if you have space, rooftop systems will be cheaper and faster to install. Also, due to their raised elevation, they will receive more direct sunlight compared to the ground-mounted solar panels.
Once you’re ready for installation, give us a call to learn more about your options for a solar panel ground mount design.