Why Backyard Solar Panels Make Sense
Not every San Antonio home qualifies for solar, but that doesn’t mean your yard won’t. If rooftop solar isn’t a good fit for your home, ground mounts may be a viable option. Here are some of the situations that make ground mounts worth considering.
The reason ground mounts are a popular option for homeowners with solar in San Antonio is because many of the homes with solar in this area have lots of shading over the roof (imposed by trees or other structures), making the placement of the panels on the ground a better option.
Increase Your Home Aesthetics With a Ground Mount
One of the reasons why people have a hard time with solar is they don’t feel it is very attractive. This is often solved by putting the solar panels on the back of the home, so they aren’t seen from the road. This solution, however, doesn’t work for every situation.
A Solution to Shaded Roofs
Large trees that shade your home are a great way to keep cool during the summer. Large trees also provide visual appeal. However, when these trees shade the portion of your roof that would be ideal for solar, it causes problems.
Solar panels need full sun to reach maximum performance. You can trim back your tree, but some people like their tree exactly the way it is. If this is the case, a ground mount may be worth considering.
Only Have Space on the Front of Your Home
Another reason why rooftop solar might only work on the front of your San Antonio home is space. If the majority of your roof is on the front of your home, it will be hard to avoid putting solar in an inconspicuous spot.
This problem is increased when the front of your home is also facing south. the optimal spot for solar panels is south facing. This is because south-facing solar panels receive the most amount of sun throughout the day.
A south facing home makes the front of your home the obvious place to put solar panels. However, if you have enough east and west facing pitch putting solar on the front of your home can still be avoided. If the only place you can put solar is on the front of your home, and you find the look revolting, you may want to consider a ground mount.
Don’t Want to Drill into your Roof
Another reason why San Antonio residents have issues with installing solar on the roof is the potential of leaks from the rooftop installation. Unless you have a flat roof, it is necessary to drill holes in the roof to secure the solar panels.
Although when you install solar, these holes are well sealed. These sealed holes are still a concern for some. If you don’t have a flat roof on your home, you can avoid these holes by installing a ground mount.
Residential Solar Roof Requirements
Even if you don’t care whether solar is on the front of your home, your roof may not be a good candidate. If this is the case, you may want to consider a ground mount. There are several factors that go into whether a roof qualifies for a solar installation.
Not Enough Space on the Roof
One of the main reasons people don’t qualify for rooftop solar is the amount of usable space. An average residential solar panel takes up about 15 square feet. How many solar panels you will need depends on your energy usage and the type of solar panel among other things.
If you don’t have enough east, west and/or south-facing pitch, you won’t be able to install all the solar panels you need. To solve this issue you can either install a smaller system or look at installing a ground mount.
Roof Obstructions and Solar
Another reason why solar may not be a good fit for your roof is obstructions on the roof that prevent the use of the space. These could include everything from a skylight to a solar heating system which takes up space. Or a chimney that would cast a shadow on the solar panels for most of the day.
Not everything on your roof will cause a problem, but if they take up a lot of space or cast a large shadow, it might. If you have large roof obstructions, you may need to consider a ground mount.
Impact of the Angle of the Roof on Solar
If your home has lots of steep angles it might not be a good candidate for solar. To have the best energy production a solar panel needs to be at a certain azimuth. This is the angle of the panel to the sun.
If your roof has an awkward pitch, it can be difficult to get the correct azimuth. The pitch of your home is an off solar panel factor which helps determine your home’s eligibility for solar. Homes that have too steep of a pitch may need to consider a ground mount.
Ground Mounts When Usage Exceeds Your Roof Space
When you first get a solar quote you need to acquire your homes energy usage. Usage is the amount of electricity you use—this is the best way to determine how much solar you need.
Your utility company typically puts your usage on your monthly energy bill. If you have high usage and a small home there is a chance that you won’t have enough space on your roof for solar.
If this is the cause for your home, you can either install a smaller system and implement energy-conserving habits. Or if you have a large yard you might be able to install solar in your back yard.
Ground Mounts vs. Offset Solar
If you have enough space in your yard for a ground mount, you can install a system that covers most of your energy needs. These solar panels can be set to the optimal azimuth for your area because you don’t have to worry about the pitch of the roof.
However, ground mounts are more expensive than a rooftop solar installation. This is because it is a more labor-intensive installation process.
Don’t Let Your Roof Hold You Back
If you want solar, but your roof isn’t a good fit, don’t give up hope on your dream of self-sufficiency. Take a look at your property and determine if your yard will qualify for a solar installation.
Ground Mounts and Yard Space in San Antonio
Not every yard is a good fit for solar. Having enough unshaded space is key to qualifying for this installation type. How much space you will need depends on the number and type of solar panels being used and the area you live in.
Average Space Needed for a Ground Mount
The average space needed for one residential solar panel is a little over 15 square feet. These solar panels are about 3 feet wide by 5 feet long.
Go Solar Group uses Axitec AXIblackpremium 315-watt solar panels. These solar panels are 64.57 x 39.06 x 1.38 inches. Each of these solar panels takes up 17.51 square feet. Homeowners need at least 210.12 square feet of un-shaded space for their solar arrays.
San Antonio Ground Mount Property Line Setback
Your property line setback is the amount of space you need between a structure and your property line. In order for your solar array to be approved, you need to follow the property line setback regulations for your city.
These setbacks are reviewed and approved during city and utility permits. If you have an HOA, they may have their own setback regulations as well.