Ground-Mounted or Rooftop Solar Installation – Which Costs Less?

solar installation Oregon

Ground-Mounted or Rooftop Solar Installation – Which Costs Less?

Whether you go for ground-mounted or rooftop solar installation, you’ll have a free source of electricity for your Oregon home. You can also look forward to other benefits, including substantial energy savings, lucrative tax incentives and a boost in property value.

However, if you’re like many homeowners who are interested in switching to solar power, the upfront cost of the project is a prime concern. So, which type of PV system is more affordable?

Scheduling a free consultation with a professional photovoltaic contractor is the best way to get that question answered. Rooftop placement is often less expensive, but that isn’t always the case – and for some Oregon homeowners, installing a ground-mounted PV system makes better sense. Read the following for more of an explanation.

Ground-Mounted Solar Installation Costs

Generally speaking, ground-mounted PV systems tend to come at a higher price than rooftop PV systems.

Much of the added costs are due to the reinforced pole structures, cement foundations and other extra materials required to place a photovoltaic array at the ground level. The mounting process is more complex, so labor charges are typically steeper as well.

Also, with ground-mounted solar installations, the local wildlife has easy access to the wires. Placing the wiring underground can keep it safe from squirrels, rabbits and other critters, but as you might expect, homeowners cover the cost of digging the necessary trenches.

Project Costs for Rooftop Solar Installation

When comparing costs, most Oregon homeowners find that rooftop solar installation is the more affordable option.

Labor expenses are minimal, as the process of mounting a PV system on the rooftop of a home is faster and easier than that for a free-standing photovoltaic array. Fewer components are required, too, and roof mount racking costs less than ground mounts. That being said, some homeowners who go with rooftop solar installation face an additional cost – roof repair or replacement.

Solar panels are designed to last for decades, and they need to be mounted on a stable structure that is going to last at least that long. When a roof develops a leak after solar installation, the array must be removed, then reinstalled after the problem is resolved. Fortunately, by scheduling roof repair or replacement before making the switch to solar power, homeowners can avoid this costly and time-consuming headache.

Factors that Affect Solar Installation Costs

Every photovoltaic project is unique, and though the placement of a PV system plays a major role in terms of the overall costs, other factors figure in to the equation. For Oregon homeowners, the price for installing solar panels – whether on the rooftop or at ground level – is based on the following:

  • PV system configuration — Some households are more power-hungry than others, and the larger the photovoltaic array required to power a home, the higher the cost of solar installation.
  • Quality of the solar components – Premium equipment is pricier than that of lesser quality, but spending a bit more upfront results in better performance and greater savings in the long run.
  • Complexity of the PV project – Anything that makes solar installation more difficult, like an irregular roofline or multiple rooftop obstructions, is almost certain to increase the labor costs.
  • Choice of photovoltaic contractor – Experience matters when it comes to solar projects, and while working with a trusted professional may not be the cheapest option, doing so helps ensure the investment pays off.

And let’s not forget about the financial incentives for adopting solar power. In Oregon, homeowners can claim the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), which amounts to a whopping 30 percent of the total PV system installation costs. The state also has rebate programs that offer several thousand dollars in savings, and thanks to a tax exemption, homeowners don’t see their property taxes rise as a result of going solar.

What’s more, solar homeowners are often eligible for utility company rebate programs and local incentives offered at the city or county level. And, all Oregon power companies offer net metering, paying the full retail rate for any excess electricity a PV system produces. Those who take advantage of every available incentive for solar installation not only save a great deal of money – they also see a faster return on their investment.

Planning a Cost-Effective Solar Installation

If the rooftop of your Oregon home is in good shape or requires only minor repairs, going with rooftop solar installation may very well bring down your project costs. But as we mentioned, a ground-mounted PV system could be the better choice.

Some homes have rooftops that receive little direct sunlight due to their angle and orientation. Other roofs are too small or too crammed with chimneys, vents, skylights and other obstructions to hold more than a few solar panels. And for some homeowners, shading from nearby trees and buildings has a detrimental effect on energy production. In these sorts of situations, a rooftop PV system may not be as cost-effective as ground-mounted solar panels.

Ultimately, discussing your project with an experienced local photovoltaic contractor – like the team here at Nationwide Solar – is the best way to determine what approach to take with solar installation at your Oregon home. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today!

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