How to Determine Which Type of Solar Install Is Right for You

The cost of solar power systems has dropped dramatically in recent years. They’re so affordable in fact, that increasing numbers of businesses, schools, municipalities, waste-water treatment facilities, hospitals, and agricultural operations are adopting solar.

Beyond lower initial costs, there are other benefits adding to the appeal of this sunny, sustainable energy source, including lower overall energy costs, reduced carbon footprint and the opportunity to improve one’s community.

As you begin the process of determining if solar is right for you business or organization, it’s important to understand the three primary types of solar installs and the advantages and disadvantages of each. This, along with the counsel of an experienced solar solutions company like Solential, will help determine what direction to take.

Roof-Mount Solar

Advantages. Roof-mount solar systems are among the most common installations and are a good choice for properties that get direct sunlight from the south or west. Roof mounts take advantage of existing space and are especially beneficial on buildings such as commercial facilities like manufacturing plants and warehouses as well as universities and schools that have a large roof, flat or sloped, that’s easy to access. Installation is simple. Solar panels can be mounted on virtually any type of substrate, including asphalt shingles, sheet metal and tile.

Disadvantages. Roof-mount solar systems don’t work for every building, particularly those without good exposure to the sun. Also, with roof mounting, you’re limited to the number of panels you can install. Too few panels will limit your generating capacity. Lastly, some cities or communities may restrict or limit roof-mounted systems due to zoning, aesthetics or the historical nature of the building or its location.

Ground-mounted Solar 

Advantages. Ground-mounted solar systems are affordable and extremely easy to install and maintain. Ground mounts can be more productive than roof mounts as it’s easier to place panels to optimize the sun. Too, you can choose from fixed mounts or those on poles with tracking systems that allow the panels to automatically follow the movement of the sun, collecting more energy in the process. Depending on how much land is available, the number of panels will be dictated by anticipated energy use rather than available space. Lastly, the land under the arrays can be planted with low-maintenance ground cover or even wildflowers, creating habitat for bees and butterflies and enhancing your property’s curb appeal.

Disadvantages. Land is a precious commodity and not every business, school, or municipal entity has access to open land. Purchasing land, if available, can be cost prohibitive. A site survey by an experienced solar solutions company like Solential will evaluate your geographical location, space availability, wind intensity, zoning, and other parameters to determine if a ground-mounted system is your best option.

Solar Parking Canopies 

Advantages. Solar parking canopies are elevated structures that host solar panels, while providing shade and weather protection for the vehicles parked underneath. Such structures are a constructive use of space, perfectly suited for large parking lots at airports, schools, offices complexes, manufacturing plants, hotels and resorts, and even urban parking lots. Nearly always custom to the site, these solar parking canopies can be as beautiful as they are functional, complementing your architecture or that of the surrounding area. Another advantage is the structure(s) can accommodate as many panels as needed to generate the desired kilowatts of power.

Disadvantages. Canopies can be costly because there is more involved in their design, construction and installation. As with ground-mounts, it’s essential to consult with experienced solar solutions company like Solential to evaluate your space, wind intensity, zoning, and other parameters to determine if a solar parking canopy is your best option.

There’s a lot that goes into a high-performing commercial solar system. The best way to determine the right approach for you is to start a conversation with Solential. For over a decade, we’ve delivered custom energy solutions to satisfied customers across the United States. Are you next? Contact us today.