Choosing the method in which you have your solar PV panels set up at your property is a vital part of the initial process. The mounting system you settle on can impact how much electricity you get out of your solar PV panels, the final cost of the installation and any maintenance work further down the line. A lot needs to be factored in when considering the best system. Every case and every property has limitations that may make one more suitable than the other. Basically, the answer to which system is the best is that there is no concrete answer. Before you make the choice, however, it’s worth knowing as much as you can about each mounting system so you make the best decision for you.
What mounting systems are available for Solar PV panels?
At Dynamic Solar, we offer both roof-mounted installations and ground-mounted installations. As a general rule of thumb, most of our homeowner clients are interested in roof-mounted panels. It’s the most common option as it uses space that’s otherwise not up to much other than bathing in the sunlight. However, many people miss out on potential space going to waste on the flat land outside the house. Rather than be limited to how much roof space is clear, you can have panels set up on ground level. Secure racking and bespoke mounts let you position your panels at the optimum angel and location for maximum productivity.
There are different mounting methods when it comes to having solar panels installed on the roof. Most domestic properties have a sloping, tiled roof so the most common way involves using on-roof brackets that are fitted above the tiles. Another method involves removing the tiles and instead mounting the panels onto the rafts directly – known as in-roof mounting. You can also purchase solar tiles so the roof itself becomes its own solar panel system.
On-roof tends to be the general ‘go-to’ as it’s hassle-free and gives adequate ventilation under the panels as they do tend to generate a lot of heat in the sun. You also don’t have to re-roof your property to accommodate the panels – saving you extra work and extra costs. In-roof systems do look more modern and sleek in design so are a good option for new builds.
For a flat roof, there are additional considerations. The panels will need racking and supports to achieve the right angle. The panels take up more space and will need the right amount of support in the structure to take the additional weight. Flat roof systems also may mean planning permission.
We tend to find that business owners benefit the most from ground-mounted installations. Commercial properties often come with excess land that goes to waste and can sometimes be a bother to maintain. Using this space for a private solar system is a fantastic use for such space that doesn’t have any real benefit. You also aren’t restricted to suitable roof space.
Ground-mounted panels need a frame. The usual choice tends to be a metal frame as it’s the strongest and most durable option. For a more aesthetic choice, however, there are wooden frames available. The frames can then be set up to be south-facing which is the ideal direction to get the most sunlight. Some frames can even be set up to automatically follow the sun’s process in the sky. These of course are more expensive.
A crucial consideration for ground-mounted solar panels is the planning permission regulations. You will need to apply for planning permission if the mounted panels are higher than 4 metres and within 5 metres from the edge of your property. Your local authority will have requirements for permitted development on your land. We know all about the requirements and will arrange applications on your behalf.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each mounting system?
In a snapshot, these are the pros and cons of the different mounting systems.
– Don’t often need planning permission
– Quicker installation
– Cheaper to install than ground mounting
– Dependent on roof access and gradient
-Limited space impacts how much energy is produced
– More noticeable on the property
– More stable at a ground level
– Can be adjusted for the best angle
– Not as many space restraints
– Racking and mounts are more complex and therefore more expensive
– Uses garden space
– May need planning permission if over a certain size
Deciding on which system suits you better
Everyone has a different deciding factor. Working out which factor is your priority will guide us towards which system is best for your property and your goals. If you have limited space on your roof yet ample outdoor space that’s not being utilised, ground-mounting will be your best option. If you’re looking for a less invasive and more cost-effective solution – and have a roof to use – then roof-mounting will let you achieve all the benefits of solar PV panels without a huge impact.
You can even make use of both. If your roof space doesn’t give enough room for the number of panels you will need to cover your energy consumption, adding ground-mounted panels to your system is certainly doable. Covering all your electricity needs with renewable energy is the ultimate goal and if you can do it, there’s no reason to hold back. Any excess electricity can be easily sold back to the grid with the Smart Export Guarantee still in effect. Add storage batteries to your system and you can use renewable energy around the clock, day and night.
Speak to the experts
Getting a clear answer isn’t easy which is why we focus on knowing as much as we can about how your property is set up before agreeing on a project plan. At Dynamic Solar, our service includes surveys where we give as much advice as well as our own recommendations so you have all the facts before going ahead. Our quotation service is also free so you get a clear picture of how much the service costs including supplying the panels, the racking system, mounting, installation and all necessary electrical work. We cover everything that’s involved, right down to extra storage and heating systems.
If you’d like to know more about the different benefits roof-mounted panels and ground-mounted panels you could see, feel free to get in touch. You ask for a free quote here or give us a call on 01202 985325.