In solar design, almost every challenge a business or facility owner faces can find a solution. If installing solar panels on the roof isn't preferred, a solar carport can be an alternative.
In cases where using the parking lot for solar is not desirable, installing solar panels on the roof is another option.
For roofs that may not be strong enough to support solar panels, waiting until the roof is repaired or exploring ground-mounted solar designs are viable solutions.
This illustrates that there are multiple ways for a business to incorporate solar energy into their facility.
Ground-mount solar is usually the best option for businesses that don’t have a suitable roof to install a solar project or for those that don’t have enough rooftop space on their facility.
With a ground mount structure, the panels are secured to a rack structure that is connected to the ground with steel beams or another type of metal post.
These types of installations are usually installed in an open area or as a carport over a parking lot, which is a very popular option for businesses
Solar carports work the same as regular ground mount solar, however, carports are usually taller because they provide shaded parking for vehicles. Although they’re slightly more expensive than a traditional structure, they offer many significant benefits.
- Any vehicle is covered from the snow, rain, and the sun's harsh UV rays.
- Convert any unused space in a parking lot into a respectable solar energy system.
- Solar carports are designed with the expectation of maximizing the sunlight reaching the system, increasing electricity output.
- Panels and inverters can be easily accessed for inspections, cleaning, and maintenance.
A huge part of solar carport's popularity is the fact that EV chargers can be installed with the system and this means that the owner of the business/facility can have another stream of income being brought in.
Not only that, the EV chargers will attract eco-friendly customers, investors, and employees. Since the United States has a goal of banning 50% of any gas-powered car sales by 2035, EV chargers are going to be extremely in demand.
A solar system that not only generates electricity, but also provides shade and EV chargers, is a win-win situation for the company, customers, employees, and investors.
For a facility that has an abundant amount of roof space, a rooftop solar installation is the best option. It’s the most common type of installation for commercial buildings such as warehouses and cold storage facilities.
This type of installation utilizes any unused roof space and it is usually a lower price than a ground-mounted system.
Before installing rooftop solar, the roof has to be inspected to make sure that it is suitable for the installation. If the roof of the building is damaged or aged, it may be necessary to replace it before the installation process because panels have a 25 to 30-year lifespan and it’s important that the roof can support the weight of the panels.
Choosing Between Ground-Mounted and Rooftop Solar Installations: Insights from Anne Shirley Lewis
Anne Shirley Lewis, ESA Account Executive, offers a detailed analysis of the factors influencing the decision between ground-mounted and rooftop solar installations.
Cost Comparisons and Decision Factors
Anne Shirley Lewis explains, "The cost considerations between a ground-mounted and a rooftop solar project are often comparable. The decision for a customer to opt for one over the other depends on several factors."
Space Availability and Utilization
- "A business may lack sufficient rooftop space but possess adjacent land, which can be effectively utilized to maximize solar production capabilities. Conversely, in scenarios where a business only has rooftop space available, this becomes the natural choice for solar installation."
Strategic Planning for Future Expansions
- "In situations where both rooftop and ground space are available, a decision might be influenced by the potential value of the land for future expansions, such as constructing additional facilities that contribute to the core business functions."
- "A ground-mounted system might be preferable if the rooftop is occupied with essential operational equipment. This is common in manufacturing facilities where rooftop space is needed for exhaust systems or other necessary installations."*
Advantages in Specific Locations
- "Ground-mounted systems are particularly advantageous in water retention zones, allowing for the installation to adapt to the rise and fall of water levels. An example of this is our project at the Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Winter Haven."
Maximizing Solar Energy Output
- "For businesses aiming to maximize their solar energy output and further reduce carbon emissions, a combination of both rooftop and ground-mounted systems can be an optimal solution."
In summary, solar energy presents a range of flexible solutions for businesses, catering to different needs and spaces. Whether it's maximizing unused land with ground-mount systems, utilizing rooftop space, or combining functionality with solar carports, each option offers its unique advantages.
Anne Shirley Lewis emphasizes the importance of considering space, future expansion plans, and operational requirements in choosing the right solar solution.
This adaptability of solar technology aligns with the evolving environmental and economic goals of businesses, making it an increasingly attractive option.
As we advance towards a sustainable future, solar energy is not just an eco-friendly choice but a strategic business decision, leading to cost savings, environmental responsibility, and a stronger brand image.
Is your business ready to join this group of elite pioneers? Connect with us and discover your path to clean energy.