Solar Panel Placement According To Studies
Research conducted in California involving 110,000 households with rooftop solar power systems suggests that solar panels facing south produce the most electricity. Given participants in the study were paid depending on the electricity produced and most were facing south, its safe to conclude that solar panels facing south maximize overall production.
However, peak production is usually at midday as opposed to the afternoon, where more power would be most helpful and consumption is highest. Most people watch TV, run appliances, and turn on their lights in the late afternoon. As a result, south-facing panels may not optimize solar production on a supply and demand basis. However, when the power is stored for use when its most needed, south-facing solar panels will produce the most power overall.
Should Solar Panels Face South Or West
If your solar panel location faces south youâre in the sweet zone. True South is evident by the shadows cast at noon, running north to south. Most professional solar installers position the panels facing south because it receives the maximum duration of sunlight during the day. This is tempered, however, by your proximity to the equator and elevation to sea-level. Contrary to the south-facing rule, researchers at the Pecan Stree Research Institute in Austin, Texas suggest that solar panels should face west. Their studies show that west-facing solar panels generate two percent more power in the day during peak grid usage.
South Is Best Direction To Maximize Solar Panel Output
In the Northern Hemisphere, where the United States is located, solar panels will achieve maximum possible electricity production when they are facing south.
Thats because, on average, the sun shines directly over the Equator over the year. If youre north of the Equator, facing south towards it will maximize exposure to sunlight. In fact, in all regions north of the Tropic of Cancer – which includes the entire mainland U.S. – the Sun moves across the southern half of the sky all year round.
In other words, solar panels oriented south in the United States will face the sun all year long.
Pictured: The furthest north the suns path travels is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, roughly 23.5° north of the Equator, during the summer solstice . As all of the mainland U.S. is located north of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun shines to the south for us all year-round.
How much power will panels produce on your roof given its direction?
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Is Your Roof In Good Shape
Solar panels last 25-30 years so youll want to make sure your roof is in good shape before you install them. Otherwise, youll have to remove the solar panels to have a new roof installed and then have them put back in place. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, its a good idea to replace it before you get solar panels.
The Best Angle And Direction For Solar Panels
Choosing the best angle and direction for your solar panels will optimize the amount of sunlight they receive and allow you to get the most out of your solar power system. Some who install them on their roofs are somewhat limited, but if you have the luxury of choosing exactly how you want your system setup, there are a few tricks you can use to determine how you should tilt and point your panels. We are going to go over some calculations, but fret not! If you can perform some basic arithmetic, youll have no problem. In the worst case scenario, just grab a calculator and punch in the numbers. But, before we get to any calculations, lets look at how you can find the best direction to point your solar panels in.
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S For Sizing A Photovoltaic System Prior To Hiring A Solar Contractor
STEP 1: Determine How Much Energy Your Home Consumes in a Year
Determine how much energy your home consumes for an entire year. Gather this information from your utility bills for the last 12 months. Most utility companies provide online access to this information. You are looking for the average monthly consumption in kilowatt-hours .
For example, the billing history below shows that this site used 1519 kilowatt-hours per month, on average, for this 12-month cycle of billing. Now for the year, that equals:
12 x 1519 = 18,228 kWh energy for the year. You will use this number shortly.
STEP 2: Determine the Best Location to Install a PV System
There are three things to consider when determining a location:
- AzimuthAzimuth refers to what direction the array is facing South-facing arrays are best in the northern hemisphere. East-facing or west-facing arrays are fine as well, but do produce a little less energy than a similar south-facing array. Generally speaking, north-facing arrays should be avoided. For this purpose, North will be 0°, East 90°, South 180°, West 270°. For example, southeast would be 135°
- TiltTilt refers to the pitch of the roof for roof-mounted systems. For ground-mounted systems, assume location latitude for tilt Here is a table of tilt corresponding to roof pitch:
STEP 3: Use NRELs PVWatts® Online Calculator
A. Enter the Zip Code for you location.
B. Select the weather station closest to your location
For System Losses leave the value at 14.
Connecting To The Grid
The process differs by state, county, andmunicipality, so be sure to contact the local power supplier and whatevercommunity governing board may be in place to regulate hook-ups.
In some communities, solar owners arereimbursed for energy thats consumed via their solar panels . Often the rate is the same rate as it would have been if it was theother way around if the homeowner was drawing power from the grid. Also, determine the formula that is used for thispurpose. Do you live in a state or citythat uses time-of-use billing? Find outbecause this can be a huge factor.
Some states are far more generous than otherswhen it comes to incentives and energy reimbursements, and it makes great senseto familiarize yourself with the state or citys policy before making theinvestment to purchase and install solar panels.
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Additional Solar Panel Requirements For Roof
Several factors can impact solar panel installation and performance including the type of roof and degree of tilt. A solar energy audit from our expert team will analyze all these factors for you for free.
Best Roofs For Solar Panels
Stronger roof materials like metal make an excellent foundation for solar panels. Composite materials like asphalt shingles can also work.
Installing solar panels on clay tile, concrete or traditional slate roofs can be more challenging. These materials are more brittle and can be easily damaged in the installation process. Repairs can also be more challenging. If you have a specialty roof you may want to consider talking to a qualified Florida roofer to see if solar is a good fit for your home.
For solar panels to work properly they must be tilted or slanted towards the sun. This makes pitched residential roofs a great foundation for solar panels. Solar panels can be installed on a flat roof however, additional brackets will have to be used to ensure they are tiled the proper amount.
Home Solar : Does My Roof Have To Face South For Solar
Its a factthe orientation of your roof affects how much energy solar panels can potentially produce. Still, its not as straightforward as assigning a one-size fits all hard and fast rule for solar panel placement. For homes in the northern hemisphere, south-facing solar panels do receive the most direct sunlight throughout the year. However, a south-facing roof is by no means a necessity for a productive and economically viable solar power system.
A rooftop solar power system facing east or west can still generate enough energy to meet your energy demandsparticularly if its paired with a home battery backup system. Solar panel direction is one of several factors that determine the viability of rooftop solar. Here is a breakdown of the role roof orientation plays in producing clean, renewable energy for your home.
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Average Solar Installation Cost By Location
While the most common place to install solar panels is on the roof, this is not the only place you can install them. For some larger installations, the roof is not large enough. In other installations, the roofs position is not ideal for capturing the right amount of sunlight. In these cases, you may need a ground-mounted solar system. This is a set of arrays built on a frame installed on the ground. This is much larger than the roof-mounted system and costs more to install, even if you use the same number of panels and watts. This project uses a lot of space on your property. However, for off-grid installations and some larger installations, a ground-mounted system is the only method that works.
Below are the average costs to install a 6kW system on the roof and on a ground-mounted array. All other factors between the two are identical, only the positioning is different.
|$16,550 – $21,220|
Which South Should We Use
If you use a compass to point south, it directs you towards the Earths magnetic South Pole. But this isnt the same as the geographical South Pole, which is the point you see marked on globes and world maps with the coordinates of 90° South.
While the geographical South Pole is a constant, magnetic South moves around depending on fluctuations in the Earths magnetic field.
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How To Calculate Output On Your Roof Based On Its Direction
The easiest way to adjust for the impact of your roofs direction on your potential solar panel output is by using the SolarReviews calculator.
The calculator gives us an accurate output from which we calculate the cost and savings you will get based on your local solar prices and the amount you pay your utility company for electricity.
Get a custom solar cost and savings estimate
A More Complicated Solution
So weve established that in the northern hemisphere, solar panels will receive the maximum sunlight when placed in a south-facing position. This position is ideal for most situations, but the issue becomes complicated in cases where it is beneficial to pick up more or less sunlight at different times of the day.
If your solar panels are facing directly to the south, then they will be working hardest and capturing the maximum of sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky. In the mornings and afternoons, when the sun is closer to the horizon, south-facing solar panels will collect less energy.
If you face your solar array towards the East, you will collect more electricity in the morning, and equally, if your panels face West, they will generate more electricity in the mid to late afternoon.
The reason that this is important is that if you have an on-grid solar system that connects to your local mains electricity, then your electricity price might vary depending on the time of day. This is known as Time Of Use pricing.
TOU pricing bases the price of electricity on supply and demand. At times of low usage, like the early hours of the morning, electricity is cheap, but in afternoons and evenings, when use is high, the price of electricity increases.
This gives a real-world comparison of the effectiveness of south-facing and west-facing solar panels in neighboring home solar systems.
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Where Are The Prettiest Springs In Central Florida
12 Prettiest Springs In Florida Devils Den. Located just north of Ocala in Central Florida, Devils Den is actually underground. The most prehistoric of Florida springs, this hidden gem is a perfect spot for divers and snorkelers alike. Visitors walk down a wooden staircase into a cavern that appears to open up into another ethereal world.
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!
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Finding The Best Direction For Solar Panels To Face
So, youve learned all you can about how using solar energy can impact the world. Youve even consulted a Solar Energy Specialist and your pocketbook is yearning for a stack of solar savings. Now, if youre curious about determining the best direction for solar panels to face, here are some of the basics.
Read some commonly used terms:
- Roof Pitch This is the angle of a roof. Also referred to as the roofs tilt. Heres a blog that delves into roof pitches further.
- Peak Sun Hours 1 peak sun hour = 1000 W/m² of sunlight per hour. This is the maximum amount of sunlight a home can receive at a specific time.
- Axis An imaginary straight line that the Earth spins around. The Earths axis is why different areas receive different amounts of sunlight at different times.
- Tilt Solar panels need to be tilted at an angle that allows them the most access to the sun. Optimum tilt is the perfect position for solar panels to catch the most sunlight.
Lets explore some of the options for solar panel placement.
What Does This Mean For Solar Systems Already Installed
If you were one of the early movers who now enjoys the benefit of a fixed feed in tariff, then north facing at 30 degrees tilt is ideal to maximise your savings.
Changing the orientation of an existing solar panel is possible, however when the cost of having the array shifted is considered, it usually makes more financial sense to buy additional panels or battery storage.
Panels do not have to be pointed in just one static direction. A homeowner can buy a device called a tracker that will pivot the panels over the course of the day, like a sunflower, so they always face the sun.
A tracker can raise the output of a panel by 45 per cent. But installing trackers will cost thousands of dollars, require detailed structural engineering, and council approval. For residential houses, trackers rarely make financial sense.
A cheaper way to get the same number of kilowatt hours may be simply to buy a few extra panels and point them in different directions.
If you have solar panels pointing in different directions, it is important that each group of panels is connected to its own Maximum Power Point Tracker within the inverter, otherwise you will get poor performance from your solar system.
Alternatively you can use micro-inverters, which optimise every panel, however these are significantly more expensive than the standard wall mounted inverters.
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What Direction Should Solar Panels Face In Florida
One of the biggest solar panel requirements is direct sunlight which means they must be installed on the area of your roof that gets the most amount each day. South-facing slopes get the most amount of sun on average, but the east and west sides of a roof can also be an option. For some homeowners, this could mean solar panels would need to be installed on the front of their home. While this may not be an issue, you should factor it into your homes overall curb appeal.
Trees and landscaping can block sunlight so checking for shaded areas can help determine if solar panels are a good fit for your home.
Our free solar evaluations come with a digital analysis of your roof. This data will calculate how many hours of direct sunlight your roof gets and where to place them for maximum energy production.
Broward County Online Solar Permitting
Go SOLAR is the new online portal for solar equipment permits in Broward County. Any residential or small business property may use the system for their regulatory needs when installing a new PV system. Go SOLAR’s design has allowed the county to condense solar permit applications to one common form. Applicants are limited to selecting from a finite list of “pre-authorized” designs and plans while they may submit their own documentation for a custom design, they must do so in person. Additional information is available through the portal itself.
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Solar Panel Orientation In The Uk
Your solar panel orientation is very important when it comes to maximising the amount of electricity that your solar panels will produce.
As were in the northern hemisphere the best solar panel orientation is obviously south, but:
Solar Panel Cost In Florida By Cell Type
Solar panels come in different cell types. Polycrystalline and thin film are the least expensive, while monocrystalline is more costly. Polycrystalline panels are made of many small pieces of silicone crystals. The panels are blue, making them stand out more but they are less costly to purchase and install. They do not generate as much energy as a monocrystalline panel.
Thin-film panels are also less costly and available in many subtypes. Thin- film panels have a lower profile but are better in low-light areas than the other types. Due to the amount of sunlight Florida receives, thin-film panels are much less common in this state. You can find them and polycrystalline panels if you like, but they are generally not as common.
Monocrystalline panels are the most common that you will find in Florida. These panels use individual silicone crystals, so they are more efficient at producing energy. They can be thinner than polycrystalline panels and have a sleek black finish. They also come in a few types, which may help achieve your energy goals with fewer panels than the polycrystalline or thin-film types.
Below are the average costs to install a 6kW system in Florida using the different panels.
|$13,000 – $18,000|
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