Down at the bottom of the vegetable garden you’ll find… a home solar system

 In Case Study, Energy Bills, Home Improvements, Solar Panels, Solar power, Solar PV panels

For householders who want a home solar system but don’t like technology cluttering up their roof William Lloyd-Jones has the answer – ground mounted solar panels.

If you usually associate these type of panels with a commercial solar farm, then you may be surprised to learn that they can also be used in a residential setting too. William, a retired surgeon, had solar panels installed – at the bottom of his vegetable garden.

“I am really pleased with the look of them as they are so unobtrusive with a hedge behind them,” said William, who chose Noreus to fit the solar installation.

“They are a good height and at the right angle so they can’t be seen from the road,” he added.

Another advantage for the keen gardener is that underground cables take the solar heat from the inverter by the panels to his kitchen so there is nothing intrusive between the furthest point in his veg patch and his home.

William is fortunate he has plenty of space to go green with one acre of garden at his Grade 2 home at Sychdyn in Flintshire, Wales.

At one stage he was thinking of having the solar panels put on his disused tennis court but Ron Fox, Director of Noreus, persuaded him against the idea in case William wanted to sell his home at a future date.

William, who worked in Liverpool for 30 years, became interested in green technology through a friend in Switzerland who used geothermal heat in his home by Lake Geneva. He was so impressed he decided to make his mid 19th century home, which had once been owned by Sir Saxon Tate, head of the Tate and Lyle sugar company, more eco friendly with solar panels.

Should I choose rooftop panels or ground mounted solar panels for my home solar system?

There are many advantages to rooftop solar installation but there are some circumstances where you might want to think about using another position instead. In William’s case, he was keen to protect the unique and historic look of his property but other factors include:

  • A roof that isn’t at the ideal pitch for installation
  • Ease of maintenance and cleaning

Do I need planning permission for ground mounted solar panels?

Generally in England and Wales, home solar systems are considered to be ‘permitted development’, as long as there is consideration taken about the building’s aesthetic exterior. However, there are rules which do apply if you live in a conservation area or, as in William’s case, a listed building.

It is important to remember that living in a conservation area or a listed building does not necessarily prevent you from enjoying the benefits of solar panels, but you should notify your local council before starting any installation.

In terms of a ground mounted system, an installation is classed as a ‘permitted development’ if the array is no more than 4 metres high, is placed at an agreed distance from the property and does not exceed 9m sq. If you are in doubt, you should always contact your local council for advice.

If you would like to speak to us about a home solar system for electricity, just complete our quick, no-obligation form and a member of the team will be in touch.

Editor’s note: This post was updated in July 2018.

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