Tesla Solar Ground Mount? Roof Tiles on the Ground?


The future of energy is renewable. As more consumers weigh the environmental and economic incentives associated with switching to renewable energy, the market for solar energy systems has grown. This burgeoning market has led companies with a stated interest in renewables to innovate various types of solar energy systems, including ground mounts.

Solar ground mount systems consist of solar panels installed in the backyard area of a household rather than the roof. Solar ground mount systems offer many benefits to the consumer, including optimal sunshine alignment and fewer spatial limitations, but Tesla does not currently offer a ground mount system.

While solar ground mount systems can undoubtedly offer many benefits to the consumer, there are also several drawbacks to ground mount systems when compared with the traditional roof mount systems. Keep reading to learn more about what a solar ground mount system is, its differences from roof mount systems, and the pros and cons of each.

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What is a Solar Ground Mount?

As the name implies, a solar ground mount is a solar energy system with solar panels installed on the ground. Household solar energy systems can be installed in two ways: ground mounts and roof mounts, with roof mount systems generally being more popular than ground mount systems.

While these are the two broadest types of solar energy systems, both systems can be designed differently. Let’s take a look at several different types of solar ground mount systems.

Fixed Scaffolding

Fixed scaffolding is an installation method for ground mount solar panels, which involves a system of scaffolding being built to support the solar panels. This scaffolding supports each solar panel at a fixed-tilt position, which does not allow the solar panels to adjust their angle following the sun’s movement.

This scaffolding is generally built from sturdy, reliable materials such as steel or aluminum. Thus, fixed scaffolding mounts can be more durable and long-lasting than other ground mount systems or even roof mount systems.

However, this durability and longevity do come at the cost of a fixed angle, which will not supply your energy system with as much solar energy as the following type of ground mount.

Pole Mount

Pole mounts typically allocate a single pole for each solar panel, which is used as their primary support. While this may not seem like an adequate amount of support, these pole mounts are generally sufficient in terms of their durability and longevity. The primary benefit to these pole mounts is their ability to adjust the angle of the system’s solar panels.

There are two different types of pole mounts: single-pole mounts and multi-pole mounts.

  • Single-pole Mounts
  • Multi-pole Mounts

 Single pole mounts have the advantage of using dual-axis trackers, which can move the solar panels both up and down and left to right. Multi-pole mounts are only able to employ single-axis trackers, which are limited to up and down movements.

Still, this movement can have an enormous impact on the amount of solar energy your solar energy system can harness. The impact of dual-axis trackers for your solar energy system, compared to systems that employ fixed scaffolding, can be solar energy increases of up to 43.6%.

This is an exceptional advantage for pole mount solar panels in comparison to fixed scaffolding solar panels. However, it is essential to recognize there are drawbacks to using pole mounts. These include the greater rate of maintenance and component failures due to the greater mechanical complexity of their single-axis and dual-axis tracker systems.

Does Tesla Offer a Solar Ground Mount?

Tesla does not currently offer ground mount options for its solar energy system. Tesla’s solar energy system is still relatively nascent, with its solar roof tiles initially released in 2016. Still, this does not mean that Tesla will never release solar panels available for ground mount systems.

At their current state, Tesla is unlikely to release solar ground mounts anytime soon. This is due to several contributing factors. For one, Tesla typically does not allow for their products to be DIY installed or modified. Rather, most Tesla products must be installed or maintained by installers and maintenance workers employed by Tesla.

There are other companies, such as Go Green Solar, which offer DIY solar kits which can be installed as ground mount systems. However, because Tesla does not typically offer DIY products, this type of product is unlikely to come from Tesla soon.

The most likely case for Tesla offering solar ground mounts in the future is for their roof mount solar tiles to first succeed.

What is Tesla’s Solar Roof Mount System Like?

As Tesla’s long-anticipated solar roof has finally made its way from concept to physical product in the homes of many consumers, the reviews have been generally positive. Tesla’s solar roof is unique in that it is not a traditional roof mount solar energy system.

Instead of their solar panels being mounted onto an existing roof, Tesla’s solar panels are embedded directly into rooftop shingles. This is a significant benefit for consumers who may be hesitant to tamper with their household’s aesthetics by installing clunky, enormous solar panels on their roof.

These rooftop shingles come in four unique designs, which will be delineated in the following list:

  • Textured
  • Slate
  • Smooth Glass
  • Tuscan

These solar roof tiles are also three times stronger than traditional roof tiles, according to Tesla. Thus, you will not be sacrificing durability by installing a Tesla solar roof. You may even be increasing the durability of your roof by doing so.

Some consumers may be put off by the steep upfront cost of Tesla’s solar roof. A 3,000 square foot roof installation may cost around $73,500. However, tax credits can help cover most of these costs, and solar power is known to have an incredible return on investment over long periods.

It is not uncommon to see returns on investment of up to 200% or even 300% for roof mount solar energy systems that are maintained. Additionally, Tesla offers an incredibly generous warranty of 30 years that covers both the output capability of your system’s solar arrays and any potential weather damage that may cause failures for your solar roof system.

Ultimately, Tesla’s solar roof is an exceptional product regarding its sleek physical appearance and an extremely generous warranty. However, those major upfront costs may be a dealbreaker for many prospective consumers.

How are Solar Ground Mounted Systems and Roof Mounted Systems Different?

So, at this point, you may still be pondering the decision between a solar ground mount system and a roof mount system. You may be particularly inclined towards Tesla products, which may lead you in the direction of a roof mount system. However, you may prefer the increased space and mobility of ground mount systems.

There is still much more to each of these solar energy systems besides their aesthetics and general characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at each of these different solar energy systems to more aptly examine their distinctions.

Cost

Solar ground mount systems and roof mount systems tend to have pretty high upfront installation costs. However, the installation costs associated with ground mount systems tend to be steeper than those associated with roof mount systems. Still, this does not mean that ground mount systems are more expensive than roof mount systems altogether.

Ground mount systems can actually be less expensive in the long run, due to easier maintenance and repairs. If you are willing to wait, ground mount systems can ultimately be less costly than solar roof mount systems.

Costs Behind Solar Ground Mount Systems

To holistically examine this system’s costs, here is a more comprehensive list of the pros and cons associated with the cost of solar ground mount systems. First, let’s start with a detailed list of the pros associated with the cost of solar ground mount systems:

  • Less Maintenance and Repair: Ground mount systems can actually be less expensive than roof mount systems in the long-run due to their different requirements regarding maintenance and repairs. Fixed scaffolding solar panels are the most durable mount system currently available, and even pole mount systems can be more durable than some more complex roof mount systems.
  • More Energy Savings: As will be detailed later on in this article, ground mount systems can be installed at a larger scale. Single and dual-axis trackers can make ground mount systems more adept at harnessing solar energy than roof mount systems. These qualities ultimately make ground mount systems the superior solar energy harnesser in most cases. This, in turn, will save you money by putting it to task more efficiently.

Now, let’s take a look at the cons associated with the cost of solar ground mount systems:

  • Higher Upfront Costs: The major downside when looking at ground mount systems’ costs are their expensive upfront costs. While both roof mount systems and ground mount systems have quite immense upfront costs, the cost of ground mount structures, particularly pole mounts, can be pretty immense due to the mechanical complexities and scale of these structures.

Costs Behind Solar Roof Mount Systems

Solar roof mount systems are expensive regarding their upfront costs. However, they are still technically cheaper to install than ground mount systems. Still, the maintenance and repair costs associated with solar roof mount systems may ultimately make them the more expensive type of mount.

To thoroughly examine the costs of roof mount systems, let’s take a look at the pros and cons associated with the costs of roof mount systems. First, let’s start with the pros associated with the costs of roof mount systems:

  • Cheaper Upfront Costs: Roof mount systems are typically cheaper to install than ground mount systems. While roof mount systems are mechanically complex, they tend to be less complex than ground mount systems as they do not possess the ability to move. Furthermore, roof mount systems tend to be built at a smaller scale than ground mount systems, making them cheaper.
  • Generous Warranties: One of the significant concerns with roof mount systems is their tendency to require frequent maintenance and repairs. However, many roof mount systems come with generous warranties covering various types of damage or failures over extensive periods. Tesla’s warranty covers both weather and power failures and spans 30 years.

Now, let’s get into the cons associated with the costs of roof mount systems:

  • Frequent Maintenance and Repairs: As mentioned earlier in this article, the most pressing issue regarding the costs of roof mount systems is their tendency to require frequent maintenance and repairs. While warranties can mitigate these costs, each warranty will vary depending on what type of damage it covers and for how long it will cover your system.

Use of Space

Solar ground mount systems are often favored by consumers that would prefer not to be spatially limited when it comes to their solar energy system. As solar ground mount systems are not restrained to the limited space provided on a rooftop, they tend to be more sprawling and intensive than solar roof mount systems.

This not only allows for more freedom in how consumers can install their solar panels, but it can also result in more energy for your household.

Ground Mount Use of Space

To properly analyze how solar ground mount systems utilize space, let’s weigh the pros and cons associated with their spatial usage. First, let’s examine the pros related to how solar ground mount systems utilize space:

  • No Limits: The most profound advantage regarding how solar ground mount systems utilize space is that solar ground mount systems have no regard for spatial restrictions. While roof mount systems are limited to the amount of space on one’s roof, ground mount systems can expand throughout a person’s backyard or garden, providing more solar panels and, as a result, more solar energy to your household.

Now, let’s consider the cons associated with how solar ground mount systems utilize space.

  • Take Up Additional Space: While the lack of limitations regarding solar ground mount systems’ usage of space may be advantageous to some, they may also be a disadvantage to others. This can be for a couple of reasons. For one, solar ground mount systems take up a lot of space that could be used for various other purposes. In contrast, roof mount systems take up a plot of space typically not used for anything else.
  • Aesthetics: Another con regarding solar ground mount systems’ usage of space can be their aesthetic, which is considered clunky and overbearing by some.

Roof Mount Use of Space

Solar roof mount systems may be limited in terms of the amount of space they can take up. However, many consumers actually prefer solar roof mount systems for how they use space. Many consumers value aesthetics quite a bit, and solar ground mount systems can be quite an eyesore in gardens or backyards.

Additionally, solar roof mount systems are not taking up any additional space in your household, as they are only present on rooftop space that would otherwise go unused. Ultimately, solar roof mount systems can be a more efficient, albeit limited, use of household space.

To holistically examine how solar roof mount systems use space, let’s delve into the pros and cons associated with how solar roof mount systems do so. First, let’s take a look at the pros related to how solar roof mount systems use space:

  • Efficient Use of Space: The primary benefit to how solar roof mount systems use space is that they do not take up any additional space in or around your household that could be used for other purposes. Rooftop space may be limited, but it is also not typically used for any other purpose. Thus, you will not have to sacrifice any usable household space to install a solar roof mount system.

Now, let’s look at the cons associated with how solar roof mount systems use space:

  • Limited Space: As mentioned earlier in this article, the amount of usable space on a rooftop is pretty limited. Additionally, your household’s rooftop may have danger spots or may even be entirely unusable. Ultimately, these are the primary concerns involving how solar roof mount systems use space.

Sunlight Exposure

Solar ground mount systems can also be more effective in harnessing more solar energy. This is due to single-axis and dual-axis trackers that allow solar panels to adjust to the sun’s movement, allowing for more sunlight exposure throughout the day. This can have an enormous effect on your solar energy system, as mentioned in a previous section, of up to a 43.6% increase in solar energy.

Ground Mount Sunlight Exposure

To fully examine the effects that solar ground mount systems have on sunlight exposure, let’s examine the pros and cons related to the subject. First, let’s take a look at the pros associated with the effect that solar ground mount systems have on sunlight exposure:

  • Greater Rate of Effectiveness: Solar ground mount systems can also be more effective in harnessing more solar energy. This is due to single-axis and dual-axis trackers that allow solar panels to adjust to the sun’s movement, allowing for more sunlight exposure throughout the day.

Now, let’s examine the cons related to the effect that solar ground mount systems have on sunlight exposure:

  • Different Yard Layouts: The most pressing issue regarding how much sunlight exposure solar ground mount systems can acquire has to do with the layout of different yards and gardens. If your yard or garden does not have plenty of room for sunlight exposure, then you simply should not install a solar ground mount system.

Roof Mount Sunlight Exposure

Solar roof mount systems may not have the dynamics of solar ground mount systems that allow for greater sunlight exposure throughout the day. However, solar roof mount systems can be more reliable. Solar roof mount systems will generally be unobstructed from sunlight, whereas solar ground mount systems may experience obstruction. Some yards and gardens may simply not be particularly exposed to the sunlight.

In these cases, solar roof mount systems are more optimal for harnessing solar power. Let’s examine the pros related to how solar roof mount systems can harness solar power:

  • Unobstructed from Sunlight: Solar roof mount systems are more reliable in being unobstructed from sunlight exposure.

Now, let’s take a look at the cons associated with how solar roof mount systems can harness solar power:

  • Will Rarely Outperform: Solar roof mount systems do not allow their solar panels to adjust their angle following the sun’s movement. Thus, solar roof mount systems will rarely outperform solar ground mount systems that are both unobstructed from the sunlight.

Installation Process

Solar ground mount systems are not necessarily easier to install than solar roof mount systems, but there is certainly more availability for DIY ground mount installations. DIY kits for solar ground mount systems are available through several companies, although it should be noted that these systems are not easy to install.

If you have little to no experience with electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or construction work, you should let a professional assist you with the installation process.

Ground Mount Installation Process

To properly analyze the installation process of solar ground mount systems, we should thoroughly examine the pros and cons related to this subject. First, let’s take a look at the pros related to the installation process of solar ground mount systems:

  • More DIY Availability: Solar ground mount systems are not necessarily easier to install than solar roof mount systems, but there is more availability for DIY ground mount installations. This makes the installation process a little more accessible as you will not have to rely on a specialist to complete the installation; you can be your own specialist!

Now, let’s examine the cons related to the installation process of solar ground mount systems:

  • Difficulty: While non-professionals can install solar ground mount systems, the installation process is quite tricky and labor-intensive. Installing fixed scaffolding is more labor-intensive than pole mount installations, but installing pole mounts requires much more mechanical engineering knowledge.

Roof Mount Installation Process

Professionals typically install solar roof mount systems. This is because of the danger involved with installing such a complex system on one’s rooftop. Thus, there is little room for DIY installations here. However, this may make your life a little bit easier, as you will not have to worry about any of the complexities associated with the installation process.

To adequately detail the installation process of solar roof mount systems, let’s examine the pros and cons related to this subject. First, let’s examine the pros related to the installation process of solar roof mount systems:

  • Hands-Off Installation: While some may be disappointed at the lack of DIY installation opportunities for solar roof mount systems, others may rejoice that they can simply sit back and watch a professional do the hard work instead.

Now, let’s take a look at the cons related to the installation process of solar roof mount systems:

Maintenance

Solar ground mount systems are generally preferable regarding maintenance if you would like to limit your system’s amount of maintenance and repair. While pole mount systems are often susceptible to component failures due to their mechanical complexity, fixed scaffolding mounts typically require little maintenance and repair.

In fact, some fixed scaffolding mounts will require no maintenance or repair throughout their existence.

Ground Mount Maintenance

To holistically examine the maintenance and repairs required of solar ground mount systems, let’s weigh the pros and cons related to this subject. First, let’s detail the pros related to the maintenance and repairs that are required of solar ground mount systems:

  • Limited Maintenance/Repairs: Solar ground mounted systems are generally preferable concerning maintenance if you would like to limit your system’s amount of maintenance and repair. In particular, fixed scaffolding mounts typically require little maintenance and repair. In fact, some fixed scaffolding mounts will require no maintenance or repair throughout their existence.

Now, let’s detail the cons related to the maintenance and repairs required of solar ground mount systems:

  • Pole Mount Failures: While fixed scaffolding mounts are relatively reliable in terms of their durability, pole mounts can be susceptible to mechanical and component failures. This is due to their increased mechanical complexities.

Roof Mount Maintenance

Solar roof mount systems, in contrast, are all fairly complex and will tend to require a more significant amount of maintenance and repair. The manufacturer typically covers this through warranties. Tesla has a notably generous warranty for its solar roof mount system, which lasts up to 30 years and covers both power and weather-related failures.

Ultimately, while solar roof mount systems typically require more maintenance and repair, they can also be more forgiving concerning what their warranties tend to cover.

To fully examine the maintenance and repairs required of solar roof mount systems, let’s take a look at the pros and cons related to this subject. First, let’s examine the pros of the maintenance and repairs required of solar roof mount systems:

  • Generous Warranties: Maintenance and repair for solar roof mount systems are typically covered by the manufacturer through warranties. Tesla has a notably generous warranty for its solar roof mounted system, which lasts up to 30 years and covers both power and weather-related failures.

Now, let’s examine the cons related to the maintenance and repairs required of solar roof mount systems:

  • Warranty Variances: While warranties can mitigate these costs, each warranty will vary depending on what type of damage it covers and for how long it will cover your system.

Final Thoughts

By the end of this article, you should know a bit more about what a solar ground mount system is, the differences between solar ground mount systems and roof mount systems, and the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, you can use this information to make an informed decision on either one of these systems.

Ultimately, regardless of whether they are ground mounted or roof mounted, solar energy systems are known to be very effective in providing energy for households and providing an excellent return on investment.

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Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. My daily driver is a Tesla Model 3 Performance. I've learned a ton about Teslas from hands-on experience and this is the site where I share everything I've learned.

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