There are many applications of solar energy, and today you can put panels almost anywhere. Sometimes, depending on location and other factors, solar panels are best suited for (typically flat) land as opposed to on a structure like a building or carport. There are two main ways to install solar on the ground: via a ground-mounted solar system or a solar tracker system. In this blog post, we will be discussing these unique applications of solar, which involve mounting solar panels on the ground rather than on your roof. We will also be discussing when these applications are most suitable and which type of grounded system would work best for you.
Ground-mounted Solar Systems
A solar ground mount is a solar panel system – typically in a backyard or field – that’s mounted on an anchored structure. It is similar to a rooftop solar panel, except a ground mount is set up on the ground; either attached to a pole or mounted on a metal frame. The panels can be positioned from a few inches to several feet above the ground. Ground-mounted solar panels can be installed anywhere there is enough sunlight and available land, and are an easy solution if your home is not the best candidate for a rooftop solar panel system.
The brand of ground-mounted system that Solaris Renewables installs is Nuance Energy’s OSPREY PowerRack, a patented ground-mount solar racking system with universal components. Its flexible design can be positioned on different landscapes, in any soil condition, and across multiple vertical segments. These features are what make it stand out from conventional ground mount solar racking systems.
Applications For Ground-mounted Solar
Ground mount applications are similar to solar trackers (which we’ll talk about later), but because they are stationary and don’t rotate like solar trackers do, there are some things to keep in mind. Because solar panels on a ground-mounted system don’t rotate throughout the day, they don’t have the ability to capture full sunlight all day, so the chosen area should not have a lot of shading or tree coverage. They should also be installed on a flatter surface, which helps us trench, or dig, a stable hole to support a large pole. A bigger property lot size is definitely helpful as it gives you the opportunity to install more solar panels. However, if you have a smaller property size and want a reliable alternative to a roof-mounted system, a ground mount will likely still work for you as long as you have enough sun exposure and an adequate backyard.
Ground mounts work best when faced south because that is when solar panels receive the most sunlight throughout the day. Your solar installer can design the racking system (solar mounting system used to support a solar array on any surface) to tilt at the prime degree for your location or site.
It’s important to know that even though ground mounts allow you to choose the best place in your backyard for your system to be installed, you’re going to have to make a commitment to that area and set it aside for your solar system. The amount of available land you need will vary with your energy needs. A larger electric bill will require more solar panels to offset.
Advantages Of Ground-mounted Solar Systems
Ground-mounted solar systems do not have as many limitations as roof-mounted systems, such as roof space available as well as space you need to perform roof maintenance. However, you should keep in mind to choose an area with a large amount of space and as much sunlight as possible when having a ground-mounted system installed.
Another benefit of ground mounts that may come as a surprise is that they allow for more airflow to keep solar panels cool and convert energy more efficiently. This is helpful because solar panels perform marginally better in cooler climates.
Solar trackers are ground-mounted solar systems that literally track the sun throughout the day. The panels are stationed on the racking system, which is positioned on the pole, and the pole rotates causing the panels to rotate with the sun. An actuator (self-contained gearbox) is what makes a solar tracker’s axle rotate. Trackers have GPS technology and an axle that rotates the panels towards the sun throughout the day; starting on the east side and rotating west as the day goes on. This means that solar panels on tracker systems capture maximum sunlight all day, delivering up to 40% more energy than a fixed roof solar system.
The brand of solar tracker that Solaris Renewables uses is called AllEarth Renewables. Each AllEarth tracker houses multiple solar panels, usually 20 or 24, that are arranged to form a solar array. It’s an American-designed and manufactured product, and a great choice for a high-value and high-efficiency solar solution for both commercial and residential applications.
Applications For Solar Trackers
When deciding whether or not to have a solar tracker installed, consider having a big enough yard with enough space, minimal trees, and a decently flat surface. Solar trackers work best for people with high electric bills because of how much energy they produce. If you’re looking for an easily adaptable project (large or small), with smart technology and guaranteed energy from the sunlight year-round, a solar tracker system is ideal.
Advantages Of Solar Trackers
Solar tracker systems are designed to handle challenging, year-round weather conditions. There are two different modes to help during harsh weather: wind mode and cold mode. Wind Mode makes the tracker lay flat at 25 mph winds, allowing it to stay in this protected position until calmer winds arrive. Similarly, Cold Mode protects system parts by laying the tracker flat when temperatures drop below -10 degrees Fahrenheit.
A solar tracker does not require a load-supporting, south-facing roof, unlike rooftop solar systems. The increased panel height from the ground allows for improved wind loading and snow-shedding, so you don’t have to worry about constantly cleaning the snow off.
How Do Ground Mounts & Solar Trackers Supply Power To Your Home If They’re Not Connected To It?
When a ground-mounted solar system is installed, a small hole is dug, or trenched, in the ground. This small hole is trenched from the solar system in the ground and all the way to the side of the house. Then, we run wires through the hole in the ground to connect the solar system to the home’s utility meter. The power from the ground mount travels underground to the utility meter.
Overall, if you’re not sure whether to have a ground mount system or solar tracker installed, it’s important to understand the main difference between the two. Both solar trackers and ground mounts are beneficial for people with high electric bills and big property sizes. Having the ability to rotate, solar trackers capture so much sunlight throughout the day, cranking out a ton of clean electricity. Whereas ground mounts are structured in a fixed position, similar to a rooftop solar system.
Either ground-mounted system is a great alternative to a rooftop solar system and is guaranteed to help provide your home with energy from the sunlight. It’s up to you to decide which is the more suitable option for your home with this given information, but Solaris Renewables is here to help every step of the way!
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