April 20, 2019

What is the Best Photovoltaic System Design for Your Organization: Rooftop, Ground or Carport?

Early on in your PV planning process, you’ll be asking a lot of questions to determine what type of commercial photovoltaic system design would work best for your organization. Is rooftop PV going to provide more ROI than a ground-mounted solar system? What about PV carports? How do you determine which kind of photovoltaic installation makes more sense than the other?

When deciding which photovoltaic system design is best for the long term, any commercial organization seriously considering a commercial PV system must take a close look at the property layout and building design specifications.

Let’s take a look at the three most popular commercial photovoltaic system designs across the United States and what your organization should know about each one.

Commercial Rooftop Photovoltaic System Design

When open, sunny roof space is available, a commercial rooftop photovoltaic system is the most common design choice. Rooftop solar is often the fastest and most seamless design to install. Depending on the roof, this design can be attached, ballasted or a combination of both.

Before proceeding with rooftop PV system design, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does your building’s roof get enough sunlight?
  • Is your roof optimally configured for a new PV system?
  • Is your roof strong enough to support solar panels?


Based on these questions, if rooftop is the right fit, PV installed on your roof can provide additional insulation and maximize your ROI opportunities.

Commercial Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic System Design

If your rooftop is not able to accommodate a PV system, ground-mounted solar provides another option to generate the clean energy your organization needs. With enough available land, a ground-mounted solar system may be just as seamless to install, operate and maintain as a rooftop system. Plus, it provides an ideal way to optimize any unused space.

Ground mounted system designs are sized to meet your unique energy needs and based upon the amount of space available. Before considering a ground-mounted PV system design, ensure that the location of installation will not interfere with future construction plans. Additionally, keep in mind the distance from your PV system and the grid. The farther away the panels are from the point of interconnection, the more expensive the installation.

Commercial Carport Photovoltaic System Design

A compelling choice for many organizations, solar carports not only generate clean, renewable energy, but also provide covered parking structures for customers, employees, students, etc. Designed as a steel canopy with solar panels mounted directly on the top, carports provide shade and protection from rain and snow.

Although carport PV system designs may be more expensive than a rooftop or ground-mounted system, it can offer those who have limited space on their roof or property a way to maximize energy-generating and ROI opportunities.

Responsive Photovoltaic System Design Services

While this is simply an overview, it is clear that a lot of information must be taken into consideration before an organization can confidently decide on the right type of photovoltaic system design. As part of your PV planning process for retail, airports, hospitals, schools or other businesses, be sure to consult with a trusted solar engineering firm. Experienced commercial solar engineers can explain all the options available, ensuring the most long-term value for your organization.

KMB Design Group is a leading solar PV firm with decades of experience. KMB provides responsive engineering services for commercial photovoltaic system designs that deliver proven results. Our commitment to clients extends from project design and installation through to completion, delivering projects on-time and within budget. From rooftop and canopy installations, to ground mount and large-scale, multi-site installations, KMB has developed PV system designs and engineering services for over 600 locations nationwide.

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

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