Not all domestic systems have to go on your roof.
Sometimes it is not always possible to fit a solar array on the roof of your house, there may not be enough room, the roof might be north facing or the roof may not be strong enough to take a solar array- though this last one is quite unusual. If you are keen to take advantage of the feed in tariff but are unable to have a straight forward roof mounted solar array what are the alternatives?
Well, If you have an area in the garden or spare land that is free from shade you could have a ground mounted system. Here we will look at some of the options available for this and for flat- roof mounted arrays- which are usually very similar.
Console Mounted Solar PV.
This is one of the easiest methods of mounting solar PV. A console is a moulded plastic bucket that can be filled with ballast and upon which a solar panel can be mounted. There are lots of different types for different applications and in different price ranges.
a console array
- Solar console
Above are two pictures of Plastic consoles. The two pictured can be used on a flat roof or can be ground mounted. As you can see ballast is added into the console and the PV panel then sits on top. For flat roof installations weight may be an issue and the amount of ballast would have to be kept to a minimum or not used at all. In cases like these similar consoles can be used that have a lower profile and fit together to limit the effect of wind.
A solion console system
The picture above is of a system done using Solion mounting consoles. They are normally used for flat roof applications where space is limited and/or the weight of the array needs to be kept low. This system also give a great looking finish, with the whole array compact and neat. They can be used for ground mounting but require a nice flat surface. The more basic console units are better suited to ground mounting on less than even ground.
Frame Mounted Solar Arrays
A more traditional means of ground or flat roof mounting is to build a frame to which the solar panels are mounted. This can be a bespoke designed and built frame or it can be built using a purpose designed system and components.
A bespoke system is more likely to be used for an array that has some sort of unusual requirements, we have built array frames that have been need to be elevated up a couple of meters from the ground and ones that have needed to be mounted on a slope. These have meant we have had to build a frame ourselves using steel.
a sunken array we designed.
A more standard method is to use purpose designed components to build the array frame. There are many different types of frames available from the solar mounting manufacturers such as Schletter, Schuco, Hilti and others. They are all basically a pre-fabricated A-frame up which the solar modules can be mounted. . These can the either be weighed down with ballast or fixed in position. They can be built onto purpose built concrete foundations or built in an area already suitable. These array can be of different sizes- some may be juts one panel high, whilst others can be up to 4 high- though these types of array are more normally used for commercial installations.
Some framed arrays are shown above, ranging in size from small single panel size to a large field mounted frame.
On the larger arrays such as large field mounted commercial arrays sometimes solar trackers are used. These track the sun throughout the day and the array moves around to face the sun.
A Solar Tracking Array.
These are some of the ways we can mount solar arrays on the ground or on a flat roof. If you would like to know more, please get in touch!
Northern Sunlight, Solar PV Installers in Yorkshire