What’s so wrong with small scale ground mounted solar?

I recently looked into ground mounted vs. rooftop solar for a family member and was really surprised by the difference in permitting costs of all things.

For a small, residential sized system the permitting costs dwarfed the savings associated with a ground mount system right out of the gate – they were literally thousands of dollars more.  For my relative this was a deal breaker, which is pretty unfortunate because there was plenty of nice, unshaded level ground that he was willing to turn over to electricity production.

It turns out the problem, at least in California’s central valley is based in the idea that any ground mounted PV system is going to be a “for profit” business rather than a residential program designed to offset one’s own electrical load.

Our original idea was to build a carport that also made electricity.  It seemed simple enough.  Some shade to park under and lower electric bills thrown in for good measure.  But now our original plan may be to build a carport and then, separately, put PV on its roof.

I’ll be sure to post updates in this process when I have them to share, but until then I’d love to hear of any similar problems folks have had and creative solutions to them.

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