Can solar panels be mounted on the ground?
Although when many think of solar energy, they picture solar panels mounted on top of roofs, there are in fact many different ways solar panels can be installed. And If you roof isn’t suitable for solar panels yet you have large land available, then a ground mounted solar panel system might be the solution to your energy needs.
Whilst on-roof solar panels make use of rooftops, ground mounted solar panels make use of land. According to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), 47% of Solar Panels in the UK are ground mounted as part of larger solar farms or solar parks. Although often used for solar farms, this doesn’t mean that ground mounted solar panels can’t also be installed domestically.
Ground mounted solar panels are an effective way of generating solar power. Although most residential homes don’t necessarily have spare land, ground mounted solar is a great choice for commercial properties or utility solar farms.
How are solar panels installed on the ground?
Solar panels can be installed on the ground using various methods and types of solar panel mounting.
When installing a ground mounted solar panel system, the solar panels are attached to a frame using clamps or mounting brackets, which holds them at the best angle for optimal sun exposure. This angle also help to keep them resistant to rain, and snow. You can arrange the panels in a variety of layouts, including portrait or landscape, at single height or stacked. Nevertheless, whilst designing the solar installation, the panel layout must ensure that the row spacing is adequate enough to minimise shading.
The ground will need to be prepared before installing the solar panels. The area will need to be levelled in order to support the structure, and cleared of any obstructions. Grading or excavation may be required to ensure a flat and stable surface.
Types of Ground Mounted Solar Panels
ground mounted solar panels pros and cons
The pros Of Ground Mounted Solar Panels
The Cons Of Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Things to Consider before installing Ground Mounted Solar
The ecological impact
A main concern surrounding the installation of ground mounted solar is the impact on the local wildlife and ecosystem. However, if your solar project is designed correctly the local wildlife could also benefit.
Usually because ground mounted solar panels are installed at a fix height above the ground, they can offer shade and protection for wildlife in adverse weather conditions. Providing a shelter from rain, snow and sun. What’s more, installing a ground mounted system isn’t destructive, so if at any point you wish to decommission the system, the land can still be used.
According to the Building Research Establishment, infrastructure for solar farms impacts less than 5% of its ground space. However, if the ecological impact of ground mounted solar panels or solar farms is something that concerns you, luckily researchers looking at the wildlife impacts of solar farms from the University of York and Lancaster, have developed the SPIES tool, to promote the enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystems in solar farms. The tool can be downloaded from the project website at: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/spies/.
Do you need planning permission for Ground Mounted Solar Panels?
According to the UK Planning Portal, ground mounted solar panels fall under permitted development as long as the following criteria is met:
- No part of the installation should be higher than 4m
- The installation should be at least 5m from the boundary of the property
- The size of the array should be no more than 9 square metres or 3m wide by 3m deep
- If the property is a listed building or a scheduled monument, then solar panels should not be installed within the boundary.
- If your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, no part of the solar installation should be nearer to any highway bounding the house, than the part of the house that is nearest to that highway.
Getting Ground Mounted Solar Panels Installed in the UK
If you are a UK home or business owner considering to install ground mounted solar panels, get in touch! The green team here at Deege Solar will be more than happy to help you on your Solar journey. As award winning solar panel installers in the Essex, England we have over 12 years of experience designing and installing both domestic and commercial solar systems. Call us on 01322 479369 or simply click enquire now to fill out our short form, to get connected to a Solar Energy expert.