Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Does It Matter If Solar Panels Are Vertical Or Horizontal

Why Take The Risk

Shadows and shading and their effects on solar panels

Higher installation costs coupled with lower production likely means vertical solar panels will always be a small segment of the solar industry. With challenges like these, its difficult to say that vertical solar panels are a good choice. However, they might still be appealing especially as you go further north. Vertical solar panels make more a little financial sense there based on their higher production rates.

Even still, its a hard sell no matter what.

If youve looked into vertical solar panels before, tell us what you think in the comments below!

Educational Standards Each Teachengineering Lesson Or Activity Is Correlated To One Or More K

NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards – Science
NGSS Performance Expectation

HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

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This lesson focuses on the following Three Dimensional Learning aspects of NGSS:
Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Design or refine a solution to a complex real-world problem, based on scientific knowledge, student-generated sources of evidence, prioritized criteria, and tradeoff considerations.

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Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation.

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When evaluating solutions it is important to take into account a range of constraints including cost, safety, reliability and aesthetics and to consider social, cultural and environmental impacts.

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Feedback can stabilize or destabilize a system.

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Engineers continuously modify these technological systems by applying scientific knowledge and engineering design practices to increase benefits while decreasing costs and risks.

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  • Do you agree with this alignment?Thanks for your feedback!

Solar Panel Orientation Zenith Orientation

Zenith This is the angle of the sun looking up from ground level or the horizon. The zenith angle of the sun varies throughout the day in the form of an arc with the sun reaching its maximum elevation around midday. The suns elevation is defined as 0o at sunrise and sunset, and 90o at midday when the sun is directly overhead.

However, the elevation of the sun at midday is different between the summer solstice and the winter solstice representing the longest and shortest days of the year as the suns path forms an arc across the sky representing either spring or autumn.

The solar elevation and azimuth over the period of a full year can be plotted onto a solar chart. A sun chart enables you to locate the position of the sun at any time of the day, during any month and for any location making solar panel orientation much easier. Pre-made sun charts or sun path diagrams, can be purchased, downloaded from the internet or constructed using graph paper for any location on the earth surface using the same principal as the sun dial in the garden.

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Why Angles Matter With Rooftop Solar

Just like other factors that affect production, the financial impact of the slight decreases in solar productivity related to your roofs slope depends on electricity prices in your specific market.

To give you an example, EnergySage compared data from two places and estimated the production levels of solar panels tilted at various angles. What we found was consistent with our investigations into the effects of other variables:

  • Regardless of where you live or the tilt of your roof, adopting solar power provides significant savings.
  • The angle of your roof actually has less impact on solar panel performance than the direction your solar energy system faces.
  • Optimal electricity production occurs when solar panels face south at a tilt equal to 30°. However, even if you lower the tilt of your roof all the way down to 5°, production only decreases by about 10 percent.

* Annual electric bill savings ** Assumes an 80% derate factor, 180-degree azimuth, array tilt ~equal to locations latitude*** Production ratio

Youll notice above that, if you live in New York where electricity is more expensive, decreasing your panels tilt to 5° will lower production by about 10 percent. Although this decreases your optimal annual savings by over $125, you still save nearly $1,090 per year. Because you live in a high cost area, your savings over time will grow even more as electricity prices continue to rise.

Extra Kilowatts From Landscape Can Be Substantial

What Are the Best Solar Panels for Colder Climates ...

Lets now look at an example on a full roof with some complicated roof faces.

With a portrait install, we can fit 47 panels3:

47 portrait panels fit on this house

With a landscape install, we can fit 57. If they are 400 watt solar panels, thats an extra 4 kW on the roof.

57 landscape panels fit on this house

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Who Should Use Bifacial Solar Panels

The demand for bifacial solar panels is increasing at a first-rate. Both residential and commercial property owners are eligible candidates for these devices. However, it is imperative to run a little inspection on your house to ensure the machines suitably work for you. The efficiency of bifacial solar relies on the area chosen for installation.

The common sites have been commercial areas with a massive need for energy. A residential application is still possible but depends on your environment, space, budget, and energy goals.

Establish if you need them mounted on the ground. Provide a snow cover for the winter checks. Continuous exposure of the devices to such weather may reduce their shelflife.

If you need it on the roof, the color is a matter of consideration. It should be white or silver for maximum absorption of light. These structures do not take as much space as mono-facial solar panels.

The most critical item is having a light or colored surface hence optimal performance by the boards. Residential homeowners can now enjoy electricity within their homes through strategic planning before installation.

As earlier discussed, the vital factor is to ensure you provide a suitable location otherwise, it will not bring home as much energy to keep your devices functioning for an extended period.

Vertical Solar Panels And Solar Production

Optimal solar production is all about panel placement, but how well does it work with vertical ones? Placing solar panels facing directly south, at a right angle to the sun is not that simple. The height of the sun in the sky changes from season to season, it stays low on the horizon during the winters and higher during the summers.

So, logically vertical panels get more energy in winters as the sun is lower in the sky. But, during the summers, when the sun is high in the sky, vertical panel placements really starts to disturb production. But, exactly how much it disturbs production depends entirely on the location.

Simply put, as you get closer to the equator, the energy production from vertical solar panels decreases as the angle of the solar panel in relation to the sun becomes less and less ideal. Hence, installing solar panels vertically is not a 100% perfect idea.

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When All Factors Are Considered Going Vertical With Your Solar Panels Wont Pay Off

Installing solar panels vertically, typically on the outside wall of a building, can be an option when roof-top space isnt available. However, higher installation costs coupled with lower production likely means vertical solar panels will remain a niche market in the solar industry. Well explain all that below, and let you know when going vertical might be a viable option.

Can Solar Panels Be Fitted To A Vertical Wall

Acoustic Panel Placement: Hang Panels Vertical Or Horizontal? –

4.9/5solar panels verticallywallcanvertical solar panels willsolar

Just so, can you mount solar panels vertically?

There are a few reasons why most solar panels are installed vertically: It is easier to have a continuous row of solar panels if they are installed vertically. The size of solar panels makes them well suited to be installed vertically on most roofs.

Furthermore, what direction should solar panels face? Direction. In the northern hemisphere, the general rule for solar panel placement is, solar panels should face true south . Usually this is the best direction because solar panels will receive direct light throughout the day.

Also asked, does it matter if solar panels are vertical or horizontal?

While most solar panels are installed horizontally, there is also valid reasons for placing them vertically, according to Fewer rails are required to mount a solar panel vertically instead of horizontally. Horizontal solar panels require about twice as many railings and mountings to be installed.

Can solar panels be mounted on a metal roof?

If you’re a homeowner with a metal roof, you might wonder: can you install solar panels on them? The answer is: yes! While the majority of solar homes have asphalt shingle roofs, metal roofs are actually a better choice if you’re planning to go solar.

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Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Advantages & Disadvantages

When people think of wind turbines, they often visualize the expansive rotors of a horizontal-axis system. A vertical axis wind turbine has blades mounted on the top of the main shaft structure, rather than in the front like an aircraft rotor. The generator is usually placed at the tower base.

Used less often than their horizontal counterparts, VAWTs are more practical in residential areas. Two common designs include a turbine that resembles two halves of a 55-gallon drum, each mounted to the rotating element , and a smaller model that looks somewhat like an egg beater . Savonius models are more commonly used and let air in through a hub to turn a generator the turbine spins via rotational momentum when air passes through the blades.

The unit has two or three blades and can be shorter and closer to the ground than a horizontal system. A Giromill also features an egg beater design but has two or three straight blades on the vertical axis. Helical blades constitute another design, which resembles a structure like DNA. In general, vertical axis wind turbines come with their own advantages and disadvantages when compared to alternative configurations.

VAWT Advantages

The turbine doesnât have to be facing the right wind direction either. In a vertical system, air flowing from any direction or speed can rotate the blades. Therefore, the system can be used to generate power in gusty winds and when theyâre blowing steadily.

Other benefits include:

In addition, VAWTs are:

Landscape Orientation May Increase The Cost Of Rooftop Solar

Choosing a portrait orientation for your DIY solar panel system may help keep your costs down.

Standard rooftop racking systems are optimized for vertical mounting. Installing your photovoltaic modules with a horizontal orientation requires more rows, and consequently, more hardware.

Lets say your DIY rooftop system will contain 12 photovoltaic modules. In a portrait orientation, you could install two rows of six modules each. Choose a landscape configuration, and you will need three rows of four photovoltaic panels.

More rows mean that you need more mounting clamps and standoffs. And that means your photovoltaic hardware costs will be higher with a landscape orientation.

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At What Angle For Solar Panels And Which Direction Should Solar Panels Be Positioned To Optimize Production

To best optimize the production of solar panels, do not underestimate the importance of their orientation and inclination! However, its not always about producing a maximum amount of energy you also need to take into consideration your consumption needs. For instance, if you are self-consuming your electricity rather than selling it back to the grid, the optimal orientation is not necessarily the same!

More Curriculum Like This

Horizontal vs Vertical Solar Panel Installation

Let the Sun Shine!

Students learn how the sun can be used for energy. They learn about passive solar heating, lighting and cooking, and active solar engineering technologies that generate electricity.

Concentrated Solar Power

Students learn how the total solar irradiance hitting a photovoltaic panel can be increased through the use of a concentrating device, such as a reflector or lens.

Maximum Power Point

Students learn how to find the maximum power point of a photovoltaic panel in order to optimize its efficiency at creating solar power. They also learn about real-world applications and technologies that use this technique, as well as Ohm’s law and the power equation, which govern a PV pa…

Solar Power: When & Where Is Best?

Students calculate the amount of solar energy available at a given location and time of day on Earth. They learn the importance of determining incoming solar energy for solar devices.

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Exceptions To The Rule

If water-based textures are being applied to the ceiling, then 1/2 interior ceiling board or 1/2 lightweight drywall, such as CertainTeed® Easi-Lite, is required.

Im often tempted to hang drywall parallel if that is the shorter dimension of the ceiling, and in doing so would result in no butted seams on that ceiling. This can be done as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The type of drywall being used is approved for that on center spacing when hung parallel.
  • The ceiling joists are accurately spaced.
  • Heavy insulation will not be installed later, since that could cause the drywall to sag, or even fail.

Regular half inch drywall ceilings can be hung perpendicular if joists are spaced 24 inches or less apart . If hung parallel, the maximum spacing is 16 inches on center. These framing spacings are only acceptable for half inch regular board when no water-based textures are being applied to the ceiling. If water-based textures are being applied to the ceiling, then half inch interior ceiling board or half inch lightweight drywall, such as CertainTeed® Easi-Lite, is required. The lightweight drywall panels meet the same performance standards as interior ceiling boards as they are more resistant to sagging.

Horizontal Vs Vertical Solar Panel Installation

Did you know you have a choice when it comes to the orientation that your solar panels are installed on your roof? Horizontal solar panels are so common, that it can come as a surprise to many that solar panels can be installed vertically. Vertical solar panel installation may be a valid option for your home.

Not sure which direction your solar panels should be installed? A trusted solar installer will be key to answering your questions. Ahead of your solar project, heres what you need to know:

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Vertical Solar Panels A Rising Trend Or Hardly Hanging On

Maximum solar panels are installed almost horizontally, either on the roofs or on the ground mounts, to maximize benefits. The reasons are quite simple, first, its easier and cheaper to install and can stand without the need for scaffolding. Secondly, horizontal setups are extensively tested and streamlined for both roof- and ground-mounted systems, hence the industry is quite well set up for this type of installation. Basically, installing solar panels on the side of a building structure is hardly the first choice for any developer, but few customers prefer vertical wall-mounted arrangement.

One example that caught our eyes, New York installer Quixotic Systems assembled a 37-kW array on the side of Urban Health Plans Simpson Pavilion. The traditional rooftop array seemed impractical on this hospital roof due to limited roof space, but at four stories tall, there was sufficient room on the south side of the building. This unique display made the developers wonder how vertical installations could make perfect sense.

To Maximise Sunlight Exposure


The best solar panels require at least four hours of direct sunlight every day to operate at optimum efficiency. In some regions, the sun does not shine directly overhead throughout the year. For instance, the sun only gets as far south as 23.5 degrees latitude during the summer solstice, meaning that sunlight comes in at a slight angle across most of Australia and especially the southern territories. In some extreme cases, particularly in the far north or south, it might be more advantageous to position solar panels vertically.

Besides geographical factors, if a permanent shadow partially or fully covers a buildings roof, the installer might recommend vertically mounted panels to harvest more sunlight.

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Either Orientation Can Work For Diy Rooftop Solar Panels

The output of your photovoltaic system is determined by how many solar modules you can fit within your available rooftop space.

Whether you can install more photovoltaic modules in a landscape or portrait orientation depends on the configuration of your roof. Many homeowners find that they have enough rooftop space to choose either orientation, but some rooftops are better suited for one or the other.

Fortunately, in terms of solar energy efficiency, this issue isnt critical. Given maximum access to sunlight, DIY solar panels mounted horizontally perform as well as those mounted vertically.

Is One Orientation Better Than The Other

For the roof in the two images above, almost all installers will choose to install in portrait orientation. Thats because it is cheaper and quicker to install this way. In fact, a landscape install can take 50% longer.

Heres why. With a portrait install, the installer will need to cut and mount 4 lengths of rail, and use 26 clamps to mount the panels:

For landscape, the installer needs to use 10 lengths of rail and 32 panel-clamps2:

This image shows where the mounting rails would typically go on a landscape installation. On some roofs it may be possible to use 6 rails parallel with the long edge of the panels but the roofs screwline spacing and the clamping zones can make that difficult to achieve.

So, with the extra effort required for a landscape install, why choose landscape at all?

The answer is space efficiency. On many roofs, landscape will let you mount more solar panels in the same space while still respecting their clamping zones and the roofs exclusion zones.

This means you can get more energy from the same roof.

Heres an example using the same roof as before.

WIth portrait orientation and respecting a 200mm exclusion zone around the roof-edge, we can fit 12 panels.

12 portrait panels will fit on this roof respecting exclusion and clamping zones..

WIth landscape orientation, we can fit 15.

15 landscape panels will fit on this roof respecting exclusion and clamping zones.

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