Ground Photovoltaic: Everything You Need to Know

Ground-mounted photovoltaics, characterized by Solar Panels positioned on the ground, is one of the alternatives to traditional rooftop Photovoltaic Systems. Unlike the latter, however, Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems have not seen simplifications in the procedures for accelerating the energy transition. 

This short guide describes its main features, operation, current legislation, necessary authorizations, steps to follow for installation, convenience, positioning requirements, and much more.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic: Characteristics

The exploitation of Solar Energy via a Photovoltaic System represents a sustainable and advantageous solution for those who wish to achieve a good level of energy independence. When thinking about Photovoltaics, most people imagine traditional Solar Panels mounted on the roofs of buildings. In fact, not everyone knows that there is the possibility of capturing the sun’s rays to produce energy via a ground-based Photovoltaic System. 

In practice, in this type of system, the Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Panels are fixed to the ground via aluminum or steel structures directed toward the sun. Depending on the available spaces and needs, the load-bearing structures of Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems can be equipped with a single pole or two.

Ground-mounted photovoltaic: How it Works

The operation of ground-mounted photovoltaic systems is similar to that of traditional systems mounted on roofs. Even in this case, in fact, the main components are:

Photovoltaic Panels

Mainly composed of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon cells, Solar Panels absorb sunlight and, thanks to the Photovoltaic effect, transform the energy into a direct current. In the case of Ground-Mounted Photovoltaics, the panels can be oriented and positioned in the best possible way to capture the greatest possible quantity of solar energy, not having to depend on the shape of the roof;

The Inverter: 

This an important component that has the role of converting the direct current coming from the panels into alternating current, which can be used in the form of electricity in buildings and can be sold if fed into the electricity grid;

Possible Storage System:

Some Photovoltaic Systems are equipped with a storage system made up of batteries that allow energy to be stored and used at a later time.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Panels: Regulations

The legislation regarding Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems, unlike that provided for roof-mounted systems, does not provide for simplification procedures regarding the installation of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. 

In fact, the so-called “Bill Decree” (Legislative Decree no. 17/2022), which provides for a broad simplification for installing domestic systems with a power between 50kW and 200kW, does not include Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems due to their significant environmental impact and land consumption. In other words, in the context of the energy transition, current legislation does not encourage the installation and diffusion of this type of system.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaics: Limits

Despite the numerous advantages offered by the exploitation of solar energy, Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic systems have some limitations that are important to know:

  • Difficult Access to State Incentives: Due to the exclusion from the Bill Decree, the possibilities of accessing incentives for the installation of ground-based systems are very limited.
  • Place of Installation: Due to the large dimensions and the strong environmental impact, there are limits regarding the places where the ground systems can be installed.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the distances of the panels. In fact, there are specific regulations that impose the minimum distances to be respected for the installation of photovoltaic panels with respect to property boundaries and roads.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic System: Authorizations

Again due to the exclusion from the Bill Decree and due to the limits regarding distances and the place of installation, it could be complicated to obtain authorizations for the construction of a Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic System. 

Furthermore, this type of system is convenient if it is large in size and can exploit a large surface area of ​​land: In this case, installation requires specific authorizations from local authorities and an environmental impact assessment.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Installation: The Steps

The installation of Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems, for a series of logistical and environmental reasons, often involves rather complex planning and design, the main steps of which are listed below:

  • Site Evaluation
  • System Design
  • Request for AuthorizationS
  • Soil Preparation
  • Installation of the Various Components of the System
  • Connection to the electricity grid
  • Security Checks
  • Connection and Use

Where can Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Panels be Installed?

Decree no. 17/2022 (already cited previously), outlined some limits regarding the places where it is possible to place a ground-mounted photovoltaic system. In particular, the appropriate areas are:

  • Areas classified as agricultural with a perimeter of no more than 300 meters from industrial, artisanal, and commercial areas.
  • The areas inside the factories and industrial plants.
  • The areas adjacent to the motorway network, at a distance not exceeding 150 meters.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic Systems: Incentives

Unlike traditional Photovoltaic Systems, accessing incentives for the installation of Ground-Mounted Systems is more complicated. Although there is the possibility of taking advantage of some incentives for Ground-Mounted Photovoltaics in agricultural areas, the requirements are restrictive both in terms of size and the characteristics of the systems.

Ground-Mounted Photovoltaic: Is it Worth It?

The convenience of Ground-Mounted Photovoltaics can depend on several factors, including the cost of installation, potential energy savings, whether or not you can access incentives, the size of the system, and local conditions. A large ground-mounted photovoltaic system allows you to achieve excellent levels of efficiency and energy production. 

However, due to the limitations described in the article, it may be more convenient to invest in a rooftop Photovoltaic System. The main reasons concern the following aspects:

Space Required: 

Ground-mounted systems require a large area of ​​soil to be installed. Furthermore, as already mentioned, they cannot be positioned everywhere, but only in very specific territories.

Visual and Environmental Impact:  

Ground-mounted photovoltaic Systems have a much greater visual and environmental impact than those installed on roofs;

Installation Costs: 

Ground-mounted systems could entail higher installation costs than rooftop ones, due to the need for support structures and the lower possibility of accessing state incentives.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be said that traditional Photovoltaic Systems, installed on the roof, are preferable to Ground-Mounted Photovoltaics. The former, in fact, have a much smaller environmental impact, provide access to convenient state incentives, and do not require special authorizations, unless landscaping needs to be carried out, in which case landscaping authorization is required. If you wish to switch to solar energy, evaluate Sorgenia’s solutions:  thanks to tailor-made projects and installations, our trained team allows you to exploit all the advantages of renewable energy combined with modern digital technologies.