A peaked roof covered in solar panels, with many sunflowers in the foreground
(Image credit: ofc pictures)

Solar power has many benefits and few downsides. When it comes to generating electricity for your home, it’s hard to argue with solar panels as one of the top ecological choices a homeowner can make. But when the cost of going solar is more than you have available, starting small with solar powered lights for the garden is a perfectly acceptable way to wade into this renewable energy source. Read on for more info on landscape gardens and solar power.

Solar Panels as an Alternative Power Source

Everybody wants to help fight climate change and many options present themselves, small and large. One of the most significant steps a household can take toward moving away from fossil fuel dependence is to light up and heat your home with solar power, an energy source that’s renewable and sustainable.

Solar power is also flexible in that you don’t have to install huge panels on your roof to get started. It’s also possible to bring in mini-panels to power your backyard lights or fountains.

Solar Panels for Garden

One could argue that using solar power in a garden landscape is a great place to start. Gardens are, by definition, plots of land that are sufficiently open to benefit from solar panels. They can provide a backup power system to power the house if the grid goes out and, in the meanwhile, can serve as landscape solar panels to provide energy for lighting and to power fountains in the backyard.

Two important garden elements are lighting and water. Lighting makes a garden a safer place after dark, and can also add focus and interest. Water features add to the aesthetic beauty of a garden and also provide drinks for wildlife. A solar cell or panel collects photons from the sun and transforms them into conduction electrons that carry an electric charge through a circuit to the fountain pump or light.

Can I Put Solar Panels in My Yard?

It is entirely possible to put solar panels into a yard. Although these are often seen on a residence roof, it is equally possible to put a solar panel on the ground, assuming you have enough room.

In order to make a wise decision about installing solar panels in the backyard, consider relevant issues, including size of the area. Another issue is whether the open area in which you intend to place the solar panel gets direct sunlight for most or all of the day all year long.

Check the financial aspects as well: get quotes to figure out whether it makes sense economically. How much money you want to invest in solar panels will also impact the size and types of panels within your range. Finally, get the rundown on rules and permitting regulations in your neighborhood, as well as any covenants in your HOA rules.

If you make a decision to go ahead, it’s time to plan for landscaping around the solar panels. Don’t install any plants that will grow large enough to shade the panels. Direct sun is essential.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.