How does a ground-based solar installation compare to a rooftop?
Ground-based solar arrays have several advantages. They can produce more energy than a roof system (because they can be oriented to an optimal position), they stay cooler in the summer (improving efficiency), and will more easily shed snow in the winter. They are especially ideal for off-grid systems.
However, ground mounts have drawbacks as well. Ground systems require building a structure for the solar array, and a trench for wiring the system to the building, adding to the time and cost of installation. Installations may be challenging in some situations, such as on rocky ground or uneven terrain.
Improved performance compensates for additional costs for materials and labor. Ground-based systems generally perform better, especially in the winter.
Roof-mounted systems are usually the first option considered. In the right situation, however, ground-based installations can be the better choice.