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What Are The Different Types of Solar Panel Systems?

As you do your research about going solar, you’ll soon discover that not every solar system is alike. In fact, each system has different requirements and needs to operate at its peak, so it’s important to understand the commitment you’re making when you choose a type of system. The experts at Sun Solar are here to help you get an understanding of the most common types of solar panel systems before you dive in and start saving with solar.

Find out more about the pros and cons of each of these types of systems and discover the one that’s right for your home or business.

Roof mounts

When you think of the term “solar panel,” roof mounted panels are probably the first thing that comes to mind. Roof mounts are placed on top of your roof, allowing for plenty of sun absorption.

Pros of roof mounts:

  • Utilize unused space. It’s unlikely that you’re using your roof space currently, meaning that your roof panels can capitalize on an area that otherwise would not get any use. This also means that you won’t lose any of your otherwise usable ground space.
  • Typically less expensive. Of the types of solar systems, roof panels are usually one of the cheaper options. If you’re trying to go solar on a budget, owning or leasing a roof mount may be your best option. <
  • Can prolong the life of your roof. Believe it or not, roof panels can actually help your roof. Since you’re adding an additional layer of protection from the elements, adding solar panels can add years onto the life of your roof.

Cons of roof mounts:

  • Size of your system may be limited. Since the roof mount is placed on top of your roof, you may be restricted in the size of your system. If your roof is not big enough for the size of system you need, you may need to place your panels elsewhere.
  • Potential for obstruction. Depending on where your home is, your roof may be obscured by shade or by trees. If this is the case, it may impede some of the energy absorption of your solar panels.
  • Harder to clean. Though you’ll rarely need to clean your solar panels, there may be times when you want to give them a good wash. This means you may have to get up on the roof, which can be dangerous if not done properly.

Ground mounts

Ground mounts are exactly what they sound like: solar panels that have been mounted on the ground to absorb sunlight and receive power.

Pros of ground mounts:

  • Easy to clean. Ground mounts can be easily reached without much extra effort, making it easy to clean off your panels whenever necessary.
  • Able to position exactly how you need. Since ground mounts can be placed anywhere on your land, you’re able to position them however you need to receive the maximum amount of sunlight. This can help you to get the most out of your solar panels.
  • Fewer restrictions in size. As long as you have the land needed, you can choose to have your ground mount be as large as you’d like. Unlike with a roof, you won’t be constrained by other factors.

Cons of ground mounts:

  • Uses up ground space you have. If you need a fairly large ground mount, it can cut into your available ground space. For those who want or need a large yard, this could be a cause for concern.
  • May not be aesthetically pleasing. While we’re a firm believer that all solar panels are beautiful, some may not want a large solar panel array sticking up out of their ground. If you’re looking for something more understated, a ground mount may not be for you.
  • Can be difficult to maneuver around. When you mow the lawn, it may be hard for you to navigate around your ground mount. If this is an issue for you, you may need to switch to a smaller mower for these areas.

Pergolas

Pergolas form a shaded area that can be used to provide respite from the heat or rain while outside. Not only do they make a great addition to your yard, they can also be utilized in conjunction with solar panels.

Pros of pergola solar mounts:

  • Visually appealing. Pergolas can add a beautiful structure to your garden area that would otherwise not be there. If you’ve been wanting to add onto your garden, a pergola solar panel could be a perfect fit.
  • Creates an outdoor living space. Looking for an area where the family can gather? Pergolas can shield you from the sun, absorbing the excess energy while cooling you off and giving you a space to enjoy with others.
  • Flexible location options. A pergola solar panel can go anywhere you would otherwise put a pergola, meaning you have several options to choose from. Your solar expert can help you determine the best place to position your pergola solar mount.

Cons of pergola solar mounts:

  • Requires building. If you do not already have a pergola at your home, you will have to build one. This may be a deterrent for some who do not want to add any additional structures at their home.
  • Limited by size. Pergolas are usually fairly small, which can limit the solar power you receive. If you need a larger amount of solar energy, you may not want to choose a pergola for all of your solar needs.
  • May not be a reasonable option for land. While pergolas work great for some, it may not make sense for your home or business. If you don’t have a lot of extra land to spare, you might be more interested in another solar system option.

Carport/canopy

If your home or business has a carport or plans to build one, that space can be used to place solar panels. Not only will a carport protect your vehicle, it can be a great fit for those interested in solar energy.

Pros of carport solar panels:

  • Helps minimize heat transfer to car. In the summer, our cars can get very hot very fast. A carport can limit the heat transfer, keeping you cooler and even improving your fuel mileage!
  • Uses energy that would otherwise be wasted. Concrete is known for sucking up a lot of sunlight and heating up your parking lot or sidewalk. By installing a solar carport, you can take advantage of the energy that would otherwise be wasted on your parking spot.
  • Uses unused space. The space above your car is likely going unused, making it easy to add on solar panels without any additional building on your behalf.

Cons of carport solar panels:

  • House/business may not be built for it.If you don’t have a carport or a location where a carport could be added, it may be difficult to incorporate this into your home or business.
  • Limited size. Similar to other solar systems, a carport solar panel can be restricted by the size of your carport. This may be an issue for some who need a larger solar system.
  • May be restricted by placement and obstruction. If your carport is located right under a tree or is in an area with a lot of shade, there is a chance that your ability to receive solar energy will be impeded. This may necessitate removal of the item causing shade or the need to choose a different kind of solar system.

 

Ready to start saving? Find out how much you could be saving on your electric bill by using our Solar Savings Calculator.
If you have more questions about the types of solar panels and solar systems available through Sun Solar, reach out to us. We’d love to sit down with you and discuss which system would be best for your home or business!

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