For those considering solar panels as an alternative to traditional utility-based energy, there may be circumstances that force you to weigh your options about where to put the system. Below we discuss the three options where solar is typically installed, and what some of the challenges and advantages can be.
The vast majority of residential solar is installed on the homeowner’s roof. The reasons are pretty simple: it saves space, doesn’t require a large property, easily integrates with the home’s main service panel, and there’s often minimal shading when homes are higher than the trees. If you’re one to keep it simple, so long as your roof is well-suited for solar, this is likely your best option.
There are several things that may cause a homeowner to look to places other than their roof for solar installation. A roof with too many angles may diminish the efficiency of the panels; angles that are too steep can create the same issues, as can shading and minimal or no roof space facing south. In these cases—of if you simply don’t like the aesthetic—you may look to alternative areas to place your panels.
GROUND MOUNT SOLAR
It is rare that a roof doesn’t meet the proper criteria, but the next thing to consider is your available land. With even a decent-sized yard, you can look into a ground mount system. This freestanding setup eliminates the issues that might disqualify your roof, such as too many angles, azimuth, or the need to reroof before install for any number of reasons.
Building a ground-mount system isn’t overly complicated for a good installation team, and the cost should be easily absorbed when considering the alternative of fixing your roof or staying on traditional utility-generated power. As long as you have the space, this is a great option.
If option one and two are off the table, it’s also possible to install solar on a carport, though this is usually done for commercial buyers. In the simplest terms, it’s the same as a ground-mount system, just situated in a parking lot rather than a backyard. In rare cases, you may see a residential solar system have a carport installed over their driveway, but given the size of a typical carport, there’s little chance that this would hold enough panels to make a meaningful dent in the household energy usage.