Ground Array Advantages:
- No limits on size – only limited by land
- No limits on orientation – max sunlight
- No effect on future roof repairs
Ground Array Disadvantages:
- Limits future land use options
- Less attractive
- More complicated to install – needs more equipment
Ideal choice for: Large farms and businesses with extra land. Homes with unused acreage who want to cancel out more of their power bill.
The Sacramento Kings’ new stadium uses both ground and rooftop solar panels on the new system they recently installed. They did this because they wanted to provide 100% of their energy from solar panels, and their huge roof still didn’t have enough space to do this for a whole stadium.
Solar System Option 3: Trackers
A ‘tracking solar panel’ is essentially a panel that moves. That is, the panel can adjust its angle. Why would you want this? Because direct sunlight produces more solar energy. So if your panels can adjust their position toward the sky, you can get more direct sunlight throughout the day.
A panel fixed at one angle will get maximum sunlight for only a portion of the day. There’s no way around that, even if it’s placed in the most ideal position on a perfectly flat roof. The angle of sunlight still changes throughout the day.
With a tracker, a panel will ‘track’ the position of the sun in the sky, and receive direct sunlight for many more hours per day than a fixed solar panel. So a solar energy system with trackers will produce far more energy than a fixed array of the same size.
Trackers can be installed on both rooftop and ground solar energy systems. The only drawback is cost. They do cost more, because the technology is more advanced, as is the installation process. You’ll produce more energy, but the upfront costs are higher. So when deciding whether to install trackers, you just need to get accurate projections for when your system will have paid for itself, and compare that to a less efficient but less costly system with fixed panels. Then decide which one works best for you.
- Produce more energy
- Save more energy on power bill
- Versatile – can work on ground or roof
- Higher upfront costs
Ideal choice for: Anyone who wants maximum solar energy production as their top priority.
How to Choose the Right Solar Energy System for You
- Get a good solar energy assessment for your home, farm, or business
- Decide if a rooftop or ground system is best for you
- Get cost and energy projections for a system with trackers, and compare it to a fixed array
- Make an informed choice on the type of solar energy system you want to install
If you need more help or have more questions, contact Coastal Solar and a representative will get back to you.