Ground based solar arrays are very similar to roof mounted solar arrays, but are located at ground level. These are usually found in much larger commercial installations where power needs go well beyond the needs of a single home. Ground-based solar arrays can allow long banks of solar panels (sometimes hundreds of metres), and can be used to generate a great deal more power than might be possible with the amount of available space and load bearing capabilities of the average suburban roof.
When are ground based solar arrays appropriate?
These systems are common on rural properties where the need for remote power is greater thanks to limited grid coverage, and where space is much more readily available. Though it's possible to have just banks of panels lined up collecting the sun, many farmers have found the panels can serve a dual purpose in providing strategic shade for crops and livestock if they're propped up a little higher off ground level.
These arrays can be used on a smaller scale to provide power to areas like work sheds where electrical wiring may not be connected, or used to generate and store power on a large scale to offset the costs of powering a farm - or as an emergency back-up in areas where it may be difficult for emergency Services to reconnect power if there's a fault.
Although less likely, a ground based array can also be installed in a residential setting where the roof simply doesn't receive enough sunlight or where there's another practical reason preventing a roof-based array from being installed.
What factors affect ground-based solar arrays?
The weight and size of the panels aren't anywhere near as important as they are in roof mounted systems, since all panels will be directly supported on the ground. Aesthetics aren't likely to be an issue either, as the panels are normally located a fair distance from the house, somewhere up in the back paddock.
The important part is the area surrounding where you plan to have the panels installed. The area should be free of trees and other forms of shade - and preferably away from any large dusty patches so that the panels don't require constant cleaning. The area should ideally be fenced off to prevent anything from getting in to damage the panels too.