Ground Mount Solar—An Alternative to Roof Solar

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Not all Habitat homes are appropriate for installing solar on the roof. Some are shaded by trees, neighboring houses, or other obstructions. Some may not have a roof orientation that faces the right direction. The optimal direction is due South, but SE and SW are also acceptable.  

Ground mounted solar

In the case of an unacceptable roof orientation, Habitat for Humanity affiliates can consider building a simple structure to accommodate a solar system.  A garden shed, picnic shelter, or carport are a few options for installing solar systems.

A solar system requires the following amount of roof space (approximately):

Size of Solar SystemSize Needed
3kW (7-8 solar panels)180 ft2 
4kW (10-11 solar panels)240 ft2
5 kW (13-14 solar panels)300 ft2
6kW (15-16 solar panels )360 ft2 

If constructing a structure that does not include walls, it is important to consider the longevity of the materials being used.  Materials should be chosen according to their ability to withstand the elements for at least 25 years.  Pressure treated lumber may not be adequate to achieve this longevity.