There are a lot of misconceptions about the optimal placement of a solar panel system. For the last few decades, home solar panels were traditional placed on the roof to take advantage of limited space and for aesthetic purposes. However, solar panels should be installed in a way that makes them as efficient as possible and easy to maintain. Here are a few reasons to consider a ground installation instead of trying to mount solar panels on your home's roof.
Chance of Leaks
Anytime you puncture the surface of your roof with fasteners, you create a new chance for a leak. Even after every opening is sealed, the hole can provide a place for water to leak in once the sealant breaks down with time. The fasteners that hold the panels to the roof can rust and wear away, allowing water to travel through the roof structure and into the home. The added weight of the panels can also cause the roof decking to bend, pushing up shingles to create plenty of leaks. All of these problems are easily avoided by mounting your solar panels on the ground.
Poor Roof Orientation
Solar panels rely on a correct orientation to produce a useful amount of electricity. Your home's roof may not face the right direction for direct sun exposure over the course of a day. A southern exposure is necessary for power generation, but many homes feature other orientations to better fit the lot.
The panels also have to sit at a proper angle to maintain peak efficiency. The existing angle of your roof determines the angle of the panels you mount on it. Placing panels at ground level allows them to be adjusted easily throughout the day with a simple motorized upgrade for the correct angle at all times. Your roof may also need structural reinforcement before it can support the weight of a full rack of solar panels, and that additional cost may make a solar power system out of your budget.
When you place solar panels on a roof, it creates more maintenance for the roof and makes it harder to service the system. Walking on the shingles to check the panels causes damage to your roofing materials. The whole system is easier to work on, clean, and inspect when mounted on the ground.
Your roof has different features that can obstruct a solar panel array and cause it to lose efficiency. The trees around your home can cast shade on your system. Your chimney and dormers can also shade your panels and cause it function at a lower rate during certain hours of the day. You can avoid this by finding a good place on your property that gets full sun all day.
Contact a residential roofer for more help.