When it comes to installing a solar system in Kenya at your home or business, you have several decisions to make. First, you need to determine where you will install your solar panels: ground mounted or rooftop.
As its name suggests, a ground-mounted solar system is a free-standing solar array mounted on the ground using either a rigid metal frame or atop a single pole. Ground-mounted systems can take the place of a rooftop system when the latter isn’t available or suitable. Not every roof is suited for solar panels. but not every home has the extra space needed for ground-mounted solar panels in Kenya.
Depending on your space requirements, ground-mounted solar panels can be a more worthwhile investment than rooftop panels. The list of benefits is longer than the list of drawbacks, but every individual situation is different.
Below we discuss the benefits of ground mounted solar panel arrays.
Nothing on Your Roof
Your roof may not have the structural integrity capable of supporting solar panels. A professional contractor or inspector can determine its suitability.
You may also not like the aesthetics of solar panels on your roof, or perhaps your landlord or residents’ association prohibits rooftop installations.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If you have a big enough lot, you can set ground-mounted solar panels beyond the sight from your house or immediate yard. If you are lucky enough to have a second property or are able to lease land somewhere, you can install ground-mounted solar panels on that property. This gives you the opportunity to not necessarily have the solar panels directly exposed at your home.
Potentially More Efficient
While a roof that faces East-West can still support solar panels in Kenya that generate electricity, the amount of solar radiation they receive may make the panels not efficient enough to pay for themselves. Ground-mounted systems can be placed without obstructions like chimneys, trees, or neighboring structures, shortening the payback time.
More easily than rooftop panels, ground-mounted ones can be adjusted according to the season or can support a solar tracker that follows the path of the sun throughout the day. A ground-mounted system with a tracker can be 10% to 45% more efficient than a rooftop solar system.
The larger height of ground-mounted panels means they are better suited for bifacial panels, which have solar cells on the back of the panels that capture light reflected off the ground or other hard surface. Because air flows more freely around ground-mounted solar panels than rooftop panels, they are less likely to suffer from heat buildup, which reduces the efficiency of solar panels.
Faulty wiring in any solar system in Kenya can create fire risks, but in a ground-mounted system those risks are isolated from your home rather than sitting on your roof. Ground-mounted panels also have independent electrical grounds rather than the ground being bonded to your house’s.
More Easily Expandable
Should your energy needs expand in the future, such as after the purchase of extra home appliances or solar water pump, it’s easier to expand a ground-mounted solar system than a rooftop one, especially if it has already maximized all available roof space.
A ground-mounted solar array can double as a solar car park or solar canopy, providing shade and shelter for vehicles and patios, or as a spot to charge your electric vehicle as they become more commonplace
Ground-mounted panels are easier to access than rooftop panels and thus easier to repair when an inverter fails or some other defect arises. They are also easier to periodically clean to maintain their efficiency. All solar systems need periodic inspections from your installer or an electrician—panels that are easier to inspect can reduce the maintenance costs of the system.
If you have plenty of open space, a slightly higher budget and a way to maintain the vegetation around your solar system in Kenya, a ground-mount just might be the right choice for you. Our solar consultants would be happy to answer any questions you might have about which style of system would work best for your property.
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