The Complete Guide to Ground-Mounted Solar Panels Written by Tatiana Lebreton Updated on 14 July 2023 ✔ Ground-mounted panels cost 25% to 35% more than roof-mounted ones✔ They can be angled and directed very easily to achieve maximum efficiency✔ Systems larger than nine square metres require planning permissionIf a home has a lot of land attached to it, then ground-mounted solar panels could be a good option – and if they're exposed to more sunlight, then you'll be able to break even on the cost of solar panels sooner.Ground-mounted solar panels can be more efficient than roof-mounted solar panels, as it’s easier to achieve the best angle and direction when no roof is in the way. But they are also more prone to having obstacles, like buildings or trees, blocking exposure to the sun.To give you a better idea of whether ground-mounted panels are right for you, this article will go over how much ground-mounted solar panels cost, how much space they take up, and compare them to roof-mounted solar panels. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started What's on this page? 01 What are ground-mounted solar panels? 02 How much do ground-mounted solar panels cost? 03 How much space do you need for ground-mounted solar panels? 04 Do you need planning permission for ground-mounted solar panels? 05 Ground-mounted solar panels vs roof-mounted 06 Are ground-mounted solar panels right for your property? 07 Summary 08 FAQs What are ground-mounted solar panels?Unlike typical solar panel systems, ground-mounted panels are fixed into the floor, instead of on the roof. Although they’re commonly used for solar farms, they can also be used in domestic solar panel setups.Solar panels can either be mounted on a metal frame or fixed on a single pole – both of which are driven into the ground, or anchored with concrete for stability.Pole-mounted panels can also be fitted with a solar tracking system, which adjusts the angle of the panel, based on the sun’s position in the sky.Tracking systems allow solar panels to receive optimal sun exposure and can increase efficiency by 20% to 35%. But they are also expensive – they cost around £2,500 – and some electricity will be sacrificed to operate the tracking system. How much do ground-mounted solar panels cost?The average cost of a solar panel system in the UK is £7,860 for a three-bedroom house, but you should expect ground-mounted solar panels to cost a little more than this.In fact, ground-mounted solar panels can be 25% to 35% more expensive than roof-mounted ones, according to Solartherm UK. The reason behind the added cost? It mostly comes down to the fact that they require more materials and take more time to be installed compared to roof-mounted systems.In a roof-mounted solar panel system, the roof is a pre-existing supporting structure. But in a ground-mounted system, that structure needs to be built from scratch, and anchored into the ground so that the panels remain stable.Ground-mounted solar panels also need longer wires than roof-mounted ones, since they are located further away from the house’s electrical system. These wires usually need to be trenched into the ground to make sure they don’t get damaged by the natural environment.There are some more advanced ground-mounted solar panels that are being introduced into public spaces, charmingly named ‘solar trees‘. These artificial trees are equipped with solar panels that generate and store clean energy from the sun. But these new innovations can cost as much as £62,000 per structure. Where do you want to install solar panels? Roof Ground Both Other / not sure Get started How much space do you need for ground-mounted solar panels?The average three-bedroom house will need around 50 square metres of space for ground-mounted solar panels to meet its energy needs.One 350-watt (W) solar panel is around two metres long and one metre wide. A three-bedroom house will need around 10 of these to meet its energy needs, equalling a total of 20 square metres.But an extra 5–10 metres of space needs to be factored in for ground-mounted solar panels because they need to be far enough away from the house, so that they don’t fall under its shade.The exact distance ground-mounted panels need to be from the house will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the system and the height of the property. Thankfully, installers will assess this before they crack on with the installationIf you want to work out how many solar panels your property needs, and how much space they’ll take up, check out our helpful guide.Do ground-mounted solar panels need to be close to your property?Ground-mounted solar panels don’t necessarily need to be close to your property, but the further away panels are, the more expensive they will be to install.Why exactly does it cost more? Well, the further away ground-mounted solar panels are from the property they are powering, the longer the wiring will have to be. And the more material you use, the more the installation will cost.Wiring that stretches over a long distance also needs to be thicker than usual to prevent a drop in voltage – the pressure that pushes electricity – as the electricity travels from your panels to your home. Voltage drops can reduce the operating efficiency of a home’s electrical system, so it’s important to avoid them.An alternative to ground-mounted solar panels are solar panel fences. Find out more about them on our page. Do you need planning permission for ground-mounted solar panels?If a ground-mounted solar panel system is larger than nine square metres – the equivalent of four to five panels – it will require planning permission.For context, you would need a 10-panel system to power a typical three-bedroom house, which would take up around 20 square metres. This means that most homeowners who want to install a ground-mounted solar panels system large enough to power their entire home will need planning permission.Homeowners in listed buildings will also need planning permission for their solar panels, regardless of the size of the ground-mounted solar system. The same goes for some properties in a conservation area or a world heritage site – if the property is near a highway, and the solar panels are installed closer to the highway than the house itself.You can check all the requirements and apply for planning permission by using the Planning Portal. Ground-mounted solar panels vs roof-mountedBenefits of roof-mounted solar panelsBenefits of ground-mounted solar panelsLess expensive to install than ground-mounted solar panelsCan angle and direct the solar panels to receive maximum sunlightDo not require planning permission (except for listed buildings and conservation areas)Easier to clean and maintain than roof-mounted systemsTake up unused space on the roof of the propertyIncreased panel efficiency, due to high levels of ventilationOne benefit of roof-mounted solar panels is that they use otherwise unused space on the roof, whereas ground-mounted panels take up land that could be used for other activities, such as gardening.Having solar panels on the roof will also keep them protected against potential damage from animals or people, which ground-mounted panels are more vulnerable to.Roof-mounted panels are also likely to be exposed to more sunlight than ground-mounted ones, because they are higher up. With ground-mounted systems, there’s a risk that trees or buildings will block the sun from reaching the panels.However, a key benefit of ground-mounted panels is that it’s easy to achieve the best angle and direction for solar panels – which is 20 to 50 degrees, and south-facing – since the supporting structure is being built from scratch. In the case of roof-mounted panels, angle and direction are largely determined by the roof, unless you add adjustable mounting brackets.And since ground-mounted solar panels are fixed a metre or two off the ground, they also benefit from better ventilation, helping them operate at a lower temperature and making them up to 25% more efficient.However, fewer properties have a large outdoor space that can fit enough ground-mounted solar panels to power their entire home, whereas most will have enough roof space. Are ground-mounted solar panels right for your property?Domestic ground-mounted solar panels are a good option for properties that have a large amount of land or have a roof that’s unsuitable for solar panels.If your property has a lot of outdoor space, it could fit a larger solar panel system on the ground than it could on the roof, generating more electricity.However, ground-mounted solar panels aren’t a good option for homeowners with less than 50 square metres of land because it’s unlikely they’ll be able to fit enough solar panels to meet their home’s energy needs.This won’t be a problem if you want to install ground-mounted solar panels to supplement the energy produced by roof-mounted solar panels, or are using them to power a shed or garden lights.For homeowners that want to use solar energy, but don’t have a lot of land and don’t have a suitable roof for solar panels, there are other options, such as wall-mounted solar panels. SummaryWhether they’re installed on the roof or on the ground, solar panels are a great way to start using more green energy at home, and can save the average UK home £520 a year on their energy bills.If your property consumes a lot of energy, and can fit more solar panels on the ground than on the roof, then ground-mounted solar panels might be the better option for you. After all, having more solar panels will lead to more electricity generation. FAQs Can solar panels be fitted in a garden? Yes, solar panels can be fitted in a garden – although, you would need around 30 square metres to fit enough solar panels to power a three-bedroom house.If a property has less than 30 square metres of land, ground-mounted solar panels can still be fitted in a garden, either to supplement the solar panels on the roof of the house, or to power sheds or garden lights.Read more about Solar Panels for Garden on our page, or check out our pages on Solar Panel Pergolas. Is it better to have solar panels on the ground? Most properties don’t have enough space outside to fit the number of ground-mounted solar panels needed to power an entire home. If that’s the case, then roof-mounted panels will be a better option for you.That being said, if a property has enough space for them, ground-mounted solar panels can be more efficient than roof-mounted ones for some properties. They can be easily angled and directed to get the maximum amount of sunlight, which means higher energy production. However, they’ll also be more at risk of being overshadowed by buildings or trees. Is it harder to sell a house with ground-mounted solar panels? In most cases, solar panels can increase the value of a house by around 4.1%. This is probably because of the many benefits that come with owning solar panels, such as lower electricity bills and a decreased carbon footprint.If you have ground-mounted solar panels though, it’s worth bearing in mind that your property will have less free land space, so solar panels might not necessarily increase its value.You can find out more about buying and selling a house with solar panels by visiting our page. Written by: Tatiana Lebreton Tatiana has written about multiple environmental topics, including heat pumps, energy-efficient household products, and solar panels. She is dedicated to demystifying green tech to make eco-friendly living more accessible.