Ground cover for poletop solar array, Suggestions Please!

solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭
edited December 2018 in General Solar Power Topics #1
Had to get a lot of fill dirt hauled in so I had a level place to have my garage built on. That gave me a steep bank on the southside of garage. I installed a solar array at the bottom of the steep bank and the yard is level in front of the panels. I have to weedwhip the bank and I can,t hardly do it any more. Too old! I live in planting zone 5 in western Pennsylvania which means you can plant perenials that will survive _20 degree F  winters.  I want to plant something that would be not more than 18 inch. height that would be very low maintaince,  less height if possible. I hope to get some suggestions of what to plant and maybe where to buy. 


  • waynecwaynec Registered Users Posts: 10 ✭✭
    I have a very similar situation and have seen some evergreen creeping phlox that seems to be what I am looking for. I plan to plant this spring if I can find it.

  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,495 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have no personal experience with it (yet), but clover might work.  Apparently it can choke out lots of taller growing stuff, and is pretty hardy.

    My city place is on a river which floods to varying levels each spring.  A lower level of the lot has been a problem for most of the ~30yrs we've been here, and planting clover is one solution I'm considering.  Haven't seen much -45° in winter here recently, but it happens and clover is apparently hardy to that.  AFAIK, you can mow it if you want, but not really needed if you're okay with a bit of a natural look (I am).  In a flood year, ice wipes out any shrubs/trees, trenches where I'd rather it didn't, and dumps tons of weed ridden silt. 
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,230 admin
    Just be really careful with any weed wacker/rotary mower/etc. around your panels... They toss small rocks quite nicely and solar panels are single weight glass (although tempered--But still very fragile).

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,386 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I covered a bank with largish rocks and I spray it with roundup when it gets weedy.    Maybe I should have put down black plastic sheet first.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Roundup is nasty and not good for you or the animals. It is in most everything (glyphosate) and house pets are getting too much of it.

    My wife would tell you solarvic  to call your county and see if they have a branch of the Master Gardeners in your area. They are in most states and Canada. They will tell you exactly what to plant. They usually have a help phone a couple days a week.

    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,060 ✭✭✭✭
    I thank everyone for the suggestions so far.  Waynec I found a list of 4o seed catalog and online plant sources on the old FARMERS ALMANAC web site that is interesting. Cant give you the email address as it come up when I searched for seed catalog companys.  Also there is a local company that raises seeds for reclaiming land. They came to an elderly group at my church and gave us a presentation. They are EARNSTSEED CO. IN MEADVILLE PA. PHONE NO 800 873 3321 . 
     Estragon. Clover is a possibility.  BB I mow with a zero turn side discharge mower with the discharge away from the panels and hope that my luck holds out. I have 2 spare panels.   jonr.  The cancer rate for non-hoddgekins Lymphona is very high in my area and I feel that the overuse of roundup is causing it. I quit leasing my ground to the farmer that was using my ground because he was using too many applications. Hr sprayed it once before he planted and again after he planted than again to kill the corn so he could get an early harvest. You are eating it in the meat , cereal and any other farm product you eat.  Dave Angelini. I agree with you about the roundup. We do have Master gardeners in the countys near me as the area is somewhat rural. You have to be carefull what you feed dogs also. Did you know that some of the well known brands have antifreeze in their product to make it stay soft? I found a couple sites that did lab tests. The purina I was feeding my dog says it has chicken ( ground up chicken beaks and feet and toes, no meat) It also coated with antifreeze)e. My my dog has CUSHINGS DISEASE, which cost me about $2,000 a year for his vet bills and medication. I changed him to 4 HEALTH dog food which was recommended by the lab reports. Also Cosco brand has a highly rated.  
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,076 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My last dog was killed during fire when he ran off in 2008. The cats made it and we need them for rodents. Dogs can actually attract them. Would you like the list of non GMO Dog food? Call the master gardeners. They are great group and know more about your area than anyone else will.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

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