February 28, 2019

Ground Mounted Photovoltaic Systems vs Rooftop: Which Is Right For You?

Commercial solar is a wise investment for almost any business. Having the ability to generate your own energy provides more than a long-term cost savings. Commercial solar investments protect against electricity rate hikes, while positioning your organization as eco-friendly and environmentally aware. Not sure which PV system will work best for your business? Let’s take a look at some differences between ground mounted photovoltaic systems and rooftop solar.

What are Ground Mounted Photovoltaic Systems?

While rooftop solar systems are common, not every building is suited for them. Many industrial, warehouse and retail facilities opt for rooftop solar panel systems, as these buildings tend to have large, flat rooftops with more than enough space to mount photovoltaic panels. However, rooftop installation doesn’t always work, especially if the roof is slanted, shaded or is crowded with equipment. Additionally, some older buildings may not have a roof strong enough to bear the weight of a PV system.

In that case, for businesses with enough space, a ground mounted PV system can be an attractive option.

Ground mounted photovoltaic systems are just what they sound like – a system of solar panels located on an open land, mounted on the ground, rather than on the roof of your building. They are typically placed a few inches to several feet off the ground and utilize three types of racking systems: fixed-tilt, single-axis tracker or dual-axis tracker.

Fixed-tilt systems are designed to position the modules at a “fixed” tilt and orientation. Solar tracker systems are designed to automatically adjust the positions of the PV array so that the modules “track” the sun throughout the day on a consistent basis. Compared to a fixed-tilt array, single- or dual-axis tracking systems are said to boost energy production between 15-30% for the same size array.

Although single-axis trackers are the one of the most common tracking systems, they’re not always the right choice for all applications.

What Photovoltaic System Delivers the Most Energy?

Solar panels must face south or west. This makes ground mounted photovoltaic systems easier to orient properly than rooftop solar panels. Rooftop panels are subject to the layout and orientation of the existing roof. Ground mounted photovoltaic systems can be oriented in the right direction, at the right angle, without obstruction from the start.This leads to maximum solar energy production and higher efficiencies.  

But, in the end, when it comes to ROI for rooftop vs ground mounted (fixed vs trackers), a one-size-approach doesn’t work. Every location has their own, unique considerations which will always affect the total energy output.

Responsive Photovoltaic Engineering Services

As a leading solar PV firm, KMB Design Group provides responsive engineering services for photovoltaic advancements that deliver proven results. With decades of experience in solar engineering, our team is knowledgeable and equipped to provide optimal commercial photovoltaic systems. From rooftop and canopy installations to ground mount and multi-site installations, KMB has developed PV designs and engineering services for over 600 locations nationwide.

Are you ready to put energy into your project? Contact the commercial solar engineers at KMB Design Group at 888-942-9401 to learn more.

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