How do homeowners choose roof or ground mount on their home

July 03 , 2019
How Do Homeowners Choose Roof or Ground Mount on Their Home ?

When homeowners think of installing a solar energy system on their home, rooftop solar is probably the first thing to come to mind.

The roof type will determine the layout fit on your roof, usually, the roof types fall into a few basic categories.

1: Gable Roof
Gable roofs provide nice rectangular surfaces for solar. Since solar panels are also rectangular – this provides a nice pattern to fit within. Panels come in standard sizes. The most common size, and the size we always work with, is 3’-3” wide by 5’-5” tall. I like to install panels in portrait orientation rather than landscape orientation (for reasons that will become clear later). Here is how to calculate how many panels will fit on a standard gable roof:

Measure R = Run, the distance from ridge of roof to eave. To find number of rows, divide R by 5.5’, then round to the lower whole number. Next, measure L = Length of roof. To find number on panels per row, divide L by 3.25’ and round to the lower whole number. The number of panels is number of number of rows times the panels per row: (L/3.25) x (R/5.5).

2: The Hip Roof

This creates either trapezoidal or triangular shapes for mounting panels, so rows are not the same length. After measuring the dimension shown below, you will need to sketch it out by hand or use Google SketchUp to accurately determine how panels will fit. Again, plan in some clearance around the array. 3 feet is a good goal.

3: Real Roofs

Roofs sometimes have vent stacks, chimneys and dormers. I hate seeing a nice solar ready roof with a vent stack right in the middle. Couldn’t the builder have put it on the north side, or at least to one side? Not a problem, though, if you plan out the array around these, as shown below.

In fact, installing solar panel ground mounting systems is just as easy and cost-effective. Here are the top three things that you need to know about ground-mounted solar panels.

While rooftop solar arrays are the most common choice for homeowners, there are many reasons to consider a ground-mounted solar panel system.

Generally, ground mount solar panels cost a bit more than rooftop solar on a per-watt basis because of additional labor and permitting that may be required for the installation. That being said, if your property isn’t ideal for rooftop solar, installing a ground-mounted system can actually save you more money in the long run.

Rooftop solar arrays are restricted by the characteristics of the roof on which they are installed. If your roof isn’t at the right angle, doesn’t face south, or has obstructions like chimneys or skylights, then your solar array will be less productive. On the other hand, ground-mounted solar panels can be located wherever the conditions are best.

In addition, if your home uses a lot of electricity, your roof might not be big enough for a solar energy system that meets your electricity needs. In contrast, ground-mounted solar systems can be sized to match your electricity consumption without the space restrictions of a rooftop system.

Other related products: solar panel roof mounting systems, Solar Panel Mounting Structure .