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Solar panels in your garden: Feasibility and benefits

Mikael Kristianslund

Ground mounted solar panels
August 15, 2023

Considering ground-mounted solar panels? Before you get the spade out and start turning your garden into a mini solar farm, make sure you've read up and understand the pros and cons of ground-mounted vs. roof-mounted solar.

Can you put solar panels in your garden?

Certainly, you can install ground-mounted solar panels in your garden.

But if you're considering systems larger than nine square meters, roughly equivalent to five to six panels, you'll need to obtain planning permission. This becomes especially important if you're aiming to power your entire home with these garden panels.

Keep in mind, the rules can vary based on local council regulations, so it's always wise to check with them for the most current information.

While nine square meters might suffice for a smaller home, larger properties exceeding 150 square meters or households with annual energy demands above 4,000 kWh will likely need a more extensive setup.

And remember, listed buildings and properties in conservation areas have their own set of permissions to navigate.

Pros and cons of ground-mounted vs roof-mounted solar panels

Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Ground Mounted Solar Panels
Pros Cons
Easy to access, clean and maintain Installation is more labor-intensive and expensive
Can be angled and placed for optimal sunlight absorption, unrestricted by roof shape or orientation Requires more parts and wiring
No alterations to your roof structure needed Requires planning permission
Stronger racking overall Takes up real estate
System is not confined to the dimensions of the roof Not aesthetically pleasing to everyone
Cooler panel temperatures mean higher energy output
No need to remove panels if roof is replaced

Roof Mounted Solar Panels
Roof Mounted Solar Panels
Pros Cons
Cost-effective Difficult to access, especially on steep roofs
Uses fewer installation materials Challenging troubleshooting
Utilizes unused rooftop space Higher temperatures reduce panel output
Typically, no planning permission needed Limited by roof size
Suits most rooftops Potential roof damage risks
Roof replacement can complicate panel setup

The cost factor

Garden solar panels might be slightly pricier than rooftop ones due to the need for additional materials and a more complex installation process.

Ground-mounted panels require a separate supporting structure, solid concrete foundations and longer wires to connect to your home's electrical system.

In the UK, a standard ground-mounted solar system typically costs between £10-15K. However, opting for a pole-mounted system or additional upgrades will increase the price.

Space requirements

For an average three-bedroom house, you'd need about 21 to 26 square meters for garden solar panels. Each panel typically measures 1.6 by 1 meters. To meet your energy demands, around 10 panels or 16 square meters will be necessary. Additionally, you should account for 5 to 10 square meters to account for the shading from trees and buildings.

The precise space needed for solar panels can vary based on several factors. To get a more exact estimate of size requirements for your home, and if you're keen on receiving quotes from top solar providers in your area, we're here to assist you.

Garden vs. roof: the verdict

Your choice between garden and roof solar panels will be influenced by your property's layout and your preferences. Garden panels are ideal for homes with abundant space and are often more efficient. Roof panels, meanwhile, are versatile, usually don't need planning permission, and optimise available space.

In conclusion, both options have their merits. It's about weighing the benefits against the constraints of your property and deciding which aligns best with your vision for a sustainable future. Whichever route you choose, embracing solar energy is a commendable step towards a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

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