Tim C. from Lincoln University, PA has lots of land on his multi-acre property. He decided it made sense to utilize a small portion of it for solar panels and came to TerraSol for the job – and he already had a vision of what the system should look like.
Traditionally, our recommendation for a space like Tim’s would be a driven pole, continuous ground mount array. This setup would look like a pitched system of solar panels, in 6 rows by 8 columns.
The array would have been only about 2ft. above ground level. The ground underneath this array would be unusable space, so we would recommend a form of ground cover like crushed stone to keep weeds under control.
Tim, however, had something a little different in mind.
His vision consisted of 4 separate “solar trees.” These would resemble treetops or flowers made up of solar panels, giving the appearance of “sprouting” out of the ground to capture the sun’s energy for good use.
The ground-mounted solar panels would be mounted to a single pole that would reach a total height of 15ft. and raised about 6ft. off the ground, allowing for total access to the ground beneath.
A special feature of this revolutionary design would incorporate the ability for Tim to manually adjust the tilt angle of the solar panels.
Why was this so important? Because the tilt of the solar panels towards the sun plays a major role in maximizing the power performance of the solar panels. If the panels’ faces are perpendicular to the sun, it minimizes the sunlight’s reflection on the panels, thus capturing the most possible light for the longest amount of time.
Tim (and TerraSol) are located in the Northeast, far away from the equator. In the winter, the sun is low in the sky even at mid-day, while in the summer the sun is high in the sky at mid-day. This simple change in the angle of the sun throughout the year contributes to significant power loss throughout the day for “fixed-tilt” solar systems like those on a residential rooftop.
The ability to manually adjust the tilt of the panels allows homeowners to create peak performance of the panels all year round, increasing annual solar production and savings. A manually-adjusted solar system is expected to produce 5-7% more power throughout the year than a fixed-tilt system.
TerraSol worked with Tim to accommodate his unique vision, and he is thrilled to now have the solar system of his dreams. He plans to keep a close eye on his system’s performance and enjoys researching the best angles every few weeks so he can ensure he gets the most out of his solar investment.