Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Best Position For Solar Panels

Solar Output Losses When The Panel Angle Is Not Ideal

Best Solar Panel Orientation

So what percentage of solar energy do you lose from not having panels mounted at the optimum angle? Well, it depends based on the orientation and angle of the panels! Generally, if your roof pitch is anywhere between 10° 15° either side of the latitude angle, you will only lose between 1 1.5% of the maximum solar output possible at your location. To use the Melbourne example again, with a northern orientation, a roof pitch of 23° would deliver around 98.5%, and a pitch of 28° around 99% of the maximum possible solar generation at that location.

The Clean Energy Council has supplied data that provides output percentages for the combination of orientation at various plane angles for the major Australian cities. You can view this data here.

However, the flatter the rooftop is, the greater the loss of solar exposure. If we take the example of Melbourne if the rooftop was perfectly flat, or horizontal, the panels would only generate 86% as compared to the 100% if the panels were mounted at latitude angle. In this instance, the direction the roof faces is irrelevant, as the roof is horizontal.

Install Solar Panels On Your Roof Anyway

You can compensate for the decreased level of sunlight by installing more solar panels. In a solar panel installation, the solar panels themselves only account for a small proportion of costs you should be able to add a few extra panels without pushing up costs too much.

This is the option that most homeowners choose when they dont have a roof section that faces south.

Placement Concerns For Your Environment

The surrounding environment and regional climate can also have an effect on the best placement of solar panels.

If a solar panel is placed on a south facing roof in the northern hemisphere which is shaded by a tree then this can reduce the level of sunlight the solar panel will receive. If the east or west sides of the roof are free from the shade then these locations may offer increased efficiency. You should make note of how shadows track throughout the course of the day to see if this is a constant problem or not. Solar panels are perfectly capable of operating in shaded environments however densely shaded areas can become problematic.

The climate can also have an impact on the positioning of solar panel systems. You should look to avoid areas that experience hot or cold climates as the ambient air temperature can impact greatly on the efficiency of a solar panel.

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What If My Roof Is Flat

If you do have a flat rooftop, do not despair, usually a mounting device is installed so as to deflect rainwater and allow the rain to clean the panels. Dust and grime will reduce the generation capacity of your solar panels, so this is an important consideration in the design and install process. The added benefit is that the panels will then be angled, likely at around 10°, which will expose them to more sun and allow them to generate more energy. If you choose to go ahead and receive solar quotes from our certified installers, they will talk you through the installation process for flat rooftops.

What Is The Optimal Angle To Tilt Your Solar Panels

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Solar power is an eco-friendly and cost-efficient way to power your home, RV, van, or boat. But if you want to maximize your output and savings from solar power, your solar panel installation must be operating efficiently.

Many factors impact the efficiency of your solar panels, including how much shade you have over your property and the seasonal weather in your location. Many of these factors are out of your control, but there is one easy factor you can control – the tilt of your solar panels.

When switching to solar power, make sure you don’t underestimate the importance of the orientation and inclination of your solar panels! Whether you’re installing solar panels on a roof, on the ground, or your van, RV, or vehicle, the tilt of your solar panels always matters. The wrong angle can have a significant impact on your panel’s solar energy output, making your system inefficient and more expensive in the long run.

You don’t necessarily need to have a south-facing rooftop or live in the sunniest state to see the financial benefits of solar power. But these factors can certainly impact the solar ROI you will get from your solar panel investment.

So when it comes to your solar panel’s performance, how much do orientation and the tilt angle really matter? Read on to learn more.

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The Best Direction For Solar Panels Rust

With the cost of electricity going up, solar panels will give you a better return on your investment than other investments such as stocks or bonds.

Many factors should be considered before installing them, so it is important to have an expert go over all of those with you first.

For solar panels to work effectively, they need to face south and receive direct sunlight. This can cause problems in highly populated areas since everyone wants personal space.

Here we will talk about the best direction for solar panels in some states of the US.

Optimum Angle Differs During Winter Months

The ideal angle for your solar panels can vary depending on your solar objectives. For example, if you are seeking to maximise solar generation during winter months, be it for an off grid system or higher energy consumption levels, you would ideally want to angle your panels at a greater tilt for maximum exposure to the low winter sun. The general rule of thumb is that panels angled at the latitude angle, plus 15°, is best to maximise winter sun exposure.

In reality though, your panels will more than likely be positioned at the angle of your rooftop, unless your roof is dead flat, as the cost to mount the panels at the optimum angle usually outweighs the benefits associated with additional solar generation. The angle of most rooftops varies depending on the architecture of the house, and city, in question. For example, in Melbourne, most houses have a roof pitch of 23° or 28°, depending on the style of architecture. Ideally, solar panels would be positioned at an angle of 38° in Melbourne, equal to the latitude angle of the city .

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Why Are Solar Panels Installed At An Angle

Solar panels work best when they get as much sunlight as possible. The more they get, the more electricity they can create. Ideally, you would just point the solar panel directly at the sun, and follow the sun as it moves through the sky.

Unfortunately, solar tracking systems that can follow the sun are prohibitively expensive for most residential uses. Its usually more cost-effective to just buy a few more solar panels, compared to the cost of a solar tracker, so a tradeoff must be made.

In general, solar panels should be installed to where the sunlight hits them at as close to a perpendicular 90-degree angle for as long as possible during the day. To achieve that goal, most solar panels face the equator and are installed at an angle between 30 to 45 degrees relative to the horizon.

  • For homes in the northern hemisphere, solar panels should face south.
  • For homes in the southern hemisphere, solar panels should face north.

If solar panels arent installed at the correct angle, they arent generating the maximum amount of electricity possible, and you could be missing out on additional savings that the additional energy could provide.

Tilting solar panels so they receive the greatest possible amount of sunlight throughout the day enables them to maximize their electricity production. They might not get all possible sunlight in the morning or evening, or during the winter, but when the sun is directly overhead in the summer months, they will be pointing directly towards it.

What If Your Roof Doesn’t Face South

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Barring a couple of exceptions outlined above, your rooftop solar energy system should ideally be facing south for maximum efficiency. Of course, this isnt always possible: many homeowners dont have roofs that face in that direction!

The good news is that this is not a dealbreaker. There are plenty of homeowners without south-facing roofs, who have solar panels installed and are enjoying huge savings on their electric bills.

Here are some workarounds for homeowners who dont have south-facing roofs:

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How To Determine The Best Angle For Solar Panels

Its important to think about the best angle for solar panels when designing a new system. After all, the way the panels are arranged will play a big part in determining how much energy they produce.

The optimal angle will differ based on where you live, and the design of the system itself.

But panel tilt isnt the only factor solar installers have to think about. Theres also azimuth, or the compass direction the panels will face.

In some cases, such as roof-mounted systems, installers dont have much wiggle room for adjusting tilt and azimuth. But that information will help system designers determine how much solar energy a system will produce.

In this blog, well tackle some basic concepts of solar design, including panel tilt and azimuth. Well also discuss adjustable solar arrays that can help harness more solar energy when the suns angle changes.

Solar Radiation Data On Horizontal Surfaces

Interestingly, the majority of solar radiation data recorded in Australia is based on a horizontal surface, or if you like, a flat roof. For the purposes of calculating solar power output at a specific location, we start by using solar exposure figures recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology at your location, which are recorded on horizontal surfaces. We then extrapolate the data supplied by the Clean Energy Council on generation loss of panels due to their orientation and tilt then we apply the necessary panel efficiency deratings. All of this data is utilised to provide an accurate measurement of solar power based on the location, roof tilt and orientation that you input into the calculator.

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The Worst Direction For Solar Panels

Now Ive worked out the best direction, along with reasonable directions, I may as well work out the worst direction for each capital.

Below Ive listed the worst direction solar panels can face for each capital which is never very far from 180 degrees due south and what percentage their annual output would be compared to facing the optimal direction. Because the output varies according to the slope of the roof I have assumed it will be 20 degrees, which is a nice round figure between the most common slopes of 15 and 22.5 degrees. The results for both of these roof slopes will be very close to the figures below:

  • Adelaide: 184 degrees 74%
  • Perth: 194 degrees 73%
  • Sydney: 187 degrees 72%

In a typical capital you can expect solar panels facing the worst direction to produce around 28% less energy than those facing the best. The standouts are Darwin with only a 17% reduction and Hobart where total output is reduced by 33%.

Given the very rapid payback of north facing solar power, which is even better than when I wrote this article on it, south facing solar can definitely can definitely pay for itself for many households. So whether you have no choice because of the shape of your roof or because you want your roof to produce the most solar energy possible, south facing panels can be a viable option.

The Best Direction For Solar Panels For Homes

Best Position For Solar Panels of 2022

The first and most important consideration for solar panels is the direction of your roof. The south side will provide more sun exposure than any other location on the property, so its best to place your panels there if possible.

In addition, this position provides all-day sunlight throughout the year and maximum energy production from sunrise until sunset.

People residing in temperate climates with four different seasons, the winter months will see less sun exposure due to fewer hours of daylight and cloudier days.

Homeowners even can save the highest electricity bills and get the fastest payback time by keeping their solar panels direction in the south over any other direction!

Having your photovoltaic array pointed in this optimal placement ensures that you are maximizing its power output while also taking advantage of net metering policies when available, as well as battery storage solutions down the line!

The Northern Hemisphere, where the United States is located in a southern region, will maximize solar panel electricity production.

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Is Your House A Good Candidate For Solar Consider These Tips

The rooftop of any building is the most suitable place for installing solar panels. It goes without saying that solar panels require maximum sunlight, but large rooftops facing south are the best to go solar. This is because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so a south-facing roof will receive sunlight throughout the entire day, as opposed to just morning or afternoon sun.

However, when roof placement is not possible, solar panels can also be installed on the ground, where land space is available. Here are some examples

View of dual ground-mounts, part of a solar power system in Florence, SC designed & installed by Southern Current.

Even with the best location for installing solar panels, there are other conditions that must be taken into consideration to determine if your roof is suitable for solar.

Rooftop Solar Panels Won’t Get Enough Sun If You Don’t Put Them At The Right Angle

The angle and direction of solar panels matters for getting peak performance and maximum sun.

If you’re thinking about installing solar panels, you’ll want as much sunlight to reach those panels as possible. Whether it’s because of placement, obstacles like trees, or conditions like cloud cover, it’s reasonable to wonder if solar panels are worth the investment if they won’t directly face the sun at all times.

The truth is, while there are conditions that can affect how efficient solar panels can be, renewable energy technology can be made to work in most conditions. One important factor for how effective solar panels are has less to do with conditions and more to do with orientation and placement. If you’re considering installing rooftop solar panels on your house, this guide will help you determine the best angle and direction for your situation.

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Alternative Options Provided By Momentum

While many homeowners choose to install panels onto their homes, there may be some who either do not have the option to put panels on their roof or simply dont want to. The best part of working with our team of solar specialists is that we can custom-design the perfect solar panel array for your home and provide alternative options.

How Much Does Solar Panel Direction Affect Output

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In the U.S., orienting solar panels true south will result in maximum output. Face them any other direction, and you can expect to see a fall in solar panel output.

Approximate output loss by direction

Direction
North 30%

North, south, east or west, which direction do you like the best? When it comes to solar panels, the answer is definitely south. The graphic shows ballpark figures for the output losses experienced by pointing your panels in a direction other than south.

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What Is The Best Solar Panel Tilt For Each Season

Latitude is essential in determining the best tilt for your panels, but seasonality is also significant. The ideal position can change throughout the year as the earth moves and the sun’s angle to your home changes.

Homeowners can increase their solar energy production throughout the year by adjusting their solar panels.

Here is the ideal panel tilt based on the season:

  • Spring: During the spring months, the best angle for your solar panels is a 45° tilt.
  • Summer: In the summer, the sun will be higher in the sky, so it’s ideal for panels to have a low angle at 20°.
  • Winter: During the winter months in the northern hemisphere, the sun is lower in relation to the horizon. So in the winter, solar panels get their best performance at a steeper angle of 60°.

Best Solar Panel Angle By Zip Code

Here is a table with the best solar panel angle for over 800 of the most populated zip codes in the US. You can sort it or search it to quickly find yours.

Note: All angles are from horizontal.

City
13.1° 43.1°

Don’t see your zip code on this list? Use the solar panel angle by zip code calculator at the top of this page to calculate the best tilt angle for your location.

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Position Alignment For Your Solar With Solar Panel Zenith Orientation:

Zenith Orientation: The first step to maximizing solar power efficiency targets the panels optimally, which is just what Zenith Orientation does. It uses an algorithm that automatically shines down on your roof during optimal times, ensuring maximum power production. Lets put it this way- stick a shovel in the dirt but keep it upside down- not suitable for digging! You wouldnt want to do that with your investment either!

The power output of a photovoltaic solar panel is getting maximized by optimizing its solar zenith orientation angle. The term zenith denotes the point in the sky directly above your location at any given time.

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