For home solar system enthusiasts, there are some terms you may have come across in your findings like solar trackers and ground mounts. But do you know what they are, as well as the pros and cons of each? As home solar systems become more popular across the country, so do various types of solar set-ups and the ways in which they can be mounted. Our team will explain what you need to know about solar trackers and ground mounts within this article.
What are Solar Trackers?
A solar tracker is a device that follows the sun as it moves across the sky, thus enabling your solar panels to absorb more sunlight and generate more energy for your home. Solar trackers can be single or dual axis and can be paired with roof-mounted solar panels or ground-mounted solar panels, and they connect to the racking and swivel as they follow the sun.
Solar Trackers: The Good & the Bad
- If you live in an area with Time of Use electricity rates, a solar tracker will be very beneficial because it produces more energy during peak hours. This means you won’t be paying for any electricity from the grid when it’s at its most expensive.
- Solar trackers enable your solar panels to absorb more sunlight because they’re always tilted in the direction of the sun, giving you more energy to power your home.
- There are a variety of solar trackers on the market, so you can definitely find one that suits your specific needs.
- While they require fewer panels to generate the same amount of energy as a roof or ground mounted system, the solar tracker equipment itself can be more costly than other racking and mounting options.
- Because they contain moving parts, there are more potential failure points than stationary equipment.
- Installing solar trackers can make your home solar system slightly more complicated because it requires extra site preparation.
Ground Mounts: What You Need to Know
A ground mount is a freestanding piece of equipment that mounts your solar panels either on top of a single pole, or using a rigid metal frame. If your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels, or you get the most direct sunlight in a different part of your property, a ground mount might be the best choice for you.
Ground Mounts: The Good & the Bad
- If you have a large property, you can install a ground mounted solar system in a far corner where it’s out of sight, out of mind. Some people prefer this to altering the structure of their roof.
- They’re often more efficient because there are no obstructions like trees, chimneys, and other objects close to your roof.
- Ground mounts are easy to expand if your energy needs change later on.
- They require a certain amount of land, and not every homeowner has enough open space for a ground mount.
- Depending on the size of your ground-mounted solar system, you may be required to apply for a permit from your local zoning authority.
- You’ll need to install extra wiring to connect the ground mount to your home.