There are domestic and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
In this article, we will focus on domestic ground-mounted solar PV systems.
What are Solar PV Systems?
Solar PV systems use sunlight to generate electricity. They are made up of solar panels, an inverter, a meter, and mounts or racks. Solar PV systems can be connected to the grid or they can be off-grid.
What is the Difference Between Domestic and Commercial Solar PV Systems?
The main difference between domestic and commercial solar PV systems is the size. Domestic solar PV systems are usually smaller than commercial solar PV systems.
Related: How Exactly Do Solar Panels Work?
Do I Need Planning Permission?
The two main challenges to overcome before installing a ground mount are obtaining grid approval and gaining planning permission. The company you are using to install the ground-based system will work with the grid network and planning office on your behalf.
How Much Land Do You Need?
The system should be at least 10kWp to make financial sense and your consumption should be at least 10,000kWh per year.
A single-phase home may require a 10kWp system; a three-phase property, on the other hand, could necessitate a 20-30kWp installation.
If the installation is smaller than 30KW, K2 P-Rack should be used instead.
It comes with a pair of two rows of eight panels in portrait, which implies installations will always be multiples of 16 panels.
Using 315-watt modules means that each rack is around 5kWp.
One P-rack is 8.15m x 3m, depending on the panels used. If your K2 P-racks are set up in rows, you’ll need a lot of gaps (usually about 6m) between each one to avoid self-shading.
The most space-efficient installation is to put K2 P-racks in a herringbone pattern. You don’t need as much gap between racks, but the cabling is more complex.
Related: Why Are Solar Panels Good For The Environment?
The typical cost of a ground-mounted PV system is 15-20% greater than that of retrofitting solar panels on a roof. This is due to the fact that more materials and labor are required for installation.
Cable Runs And Trenching
A ground mount will necessitate the installation of electric cables between the array and your power supply.
Trenching is not normally included with most quotations, so it’ll have to be done by your subcontractor.
Between the house supply and the panels, you can assume a distance of fewer than 100 meters, which may be omitted if there is an existing shed or other building on site. If you’re going to have the array a fair distance from the house, you should factor in the cost of trenching when you get quotes for your installation.
PV systems don’t work well in the shade. That’s why it’s important that there’s enough space around your ground mount to avoid shading from trees or other buildings.
The output of a solar PV system is direct current (DC). This needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) so that it can be used in the home or sold back to the grid. This conversion is done by an inverter.
Like all solar PV, minimal upkeep is required. The panels lack any moving parts and are thus anticipated to last 25 years or more, while the inverter will need to be replaced after around 10 years.
An electrical inspection and a clean every couple of years can ensure that the system is operating at its peak. Ground-mounted systems have the advantage of being easier to access for maintenance than rooftop systems.
Ground-mounted solar PV systems have a number of advantages over rooftop systems
These include the following:
- They can be installed in locations where there is no suitable roof, such as on a south-facing slope.
- They are not affected by shading from trees or other buildings.
- They are easier to maintain than rooftop systems.
- They have a higher capacity than rooftop systems, so they can generate more power.
Despite these advantages, ground-mounted solar PV systems also have some disadvantages
These include the following:
- They are usually more expensive than rooftop systems.
- They require more land.
- They can be more aesthetically intrusive.
- They can require more planning permission than rooftop systems.
If you’re considering installing a solar PV system, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of both ground-mounted and rooftop systems before making a decision.