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.
Solar Energy Information Before You Install
Thinking about solar? Heres what you need to know before you buy.
1. You can live in cloudy Britain and still use solar panels
How solar panels work in the UK is exactly the same as anywhere else. You dont have to live in an area with wall-to-wall sunshine to generate solar energy. Solar panels work even through clouds. However, the more sunshine you get, the more energy youll generate.
2. You need a south-facing roof
Ideally, you need a south-facing or south-west facing roof. With the latest technology most homes could benefit from solar PV. Only north facing roofs are not suitable.
3. You shouldnt need planning permission
Good news most homes dont need planning permission to install solar panels. However, if you have a flat roof or live in a conservation area you might want to check with your local council before going ahead.
4. You can still switch suppliers
Of course, you are still free to switch suppliers if you have solar panels. No matter which energy supplier youre with when you get them fitted, you can still change.
5. You need a certificate
Youll need an Energy Performance Certificate and a rating of D or above to qualify for a FiT. An EPC rates a building on its energy efficiency, A is the most efficient and G is the least efficient. Gov.uk can point you in the right direction of an accredited energy assessor.
If youre not ready for this step, but are trying to be more environmentally-friendly, then take a look at our low-carbon tariff.
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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Are Solar Trackers The Solution
Wouldnt it be great to have smart solar panels to detect the suns location and change their angle to always face it? That way, we could dramatically increase the efficiency of our solar systems, wherever they were located.
Actually, we can do that already using the solar tracker. So whats the catch, and why isnt everybody using solar trackers? Its because they are very expensive, and generally cost a lot more than any energy savings that they generate.
You need to adjust some types of solar tracker manually, and some are automatic. Some can change their angle through just one axis, and more sophisticated ones can track the sun more precisely using a rotating axis. The more sophisticated the tracker, the more it costs, but even the simplest trackers are usually too pricey for home solar arrays.
Solar trackers are a promising technology, but at the moment, the extra energy that they generate doesnt justify the added expense to a home solar system. But given the speed at which advances in solar technology are happening, we can look forward to affordable solar trackers that will further prove the efficiency of our home solar systems
Complete Guide For Solar Power British Columbia 2021
Congratulations! Youve found the ultimate guide for going solar in British Columbia!
British Columbia is currently ranked the #6 province in the country for installing a solar power system, scoring as one of the best provinces for installation costs and utility-related factors.
This page contains all relevant information about installing solar in BC including utility policies, system financing, solar incentives, and natural factors
This guide is sponsored by Empower Energy, a residential and commercial solar developer serving all of British Columbia. to visit their website and to get a free cost estimate.
The guide begins by answering the two most common questions about solar systems, then it explores each solar ranking factor.
You can read from top to bottom, or skip to your preferred section by clicking on it below:
|3. System Costs|
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A Short History Of Solar Panels
The development of solar energy goes back more than 100 years. In the early days, solar energy was used primarily for the production of steam which could then be used to drive machinery. But it wasn’t until the discovery of the “” by Edmond Becquerel that would allow the conversion of sunlight solar electric energy. Becquerel’s discovery then led to the invention in 1893 by Charles Fritts of the first genuine solar cell which was formed by coating sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this humble beginning would arise the device we know today as the solar panel.
Russel Ohl, an American inventor on the payroll of Bell Laboratories, patented the world’s first silicon solar cell in 1941. Ohl’s invention led to the production of the first solar panel in 1954 by the same company. Solar panels found their first mainstream use in space satellites. For most people, the first solar panel in their life was probably embedded in their new calculator – circa the 1970s!
Today, solar panels and complete solar panel systems are used to power a wide variety of applications. Yes, solar panels in the form of solar cells are still being used in calculators. However, they are also being used to provide solar power to entire homes and commercial buildings, such as Google’s headquarters in California.
Are Certain Types Of Panels More Effective
While you might not be aware of it, there are many different types of solar panel from a range of providers. The two most common are the cheaper but less efficient polycrystalline solar panels and the more expensive but more efficient monocrystalline solar panels.
While these panels work to achieve different levels of output, this is not down to their positioning, so you can choose the panel that is right for you separately from deciding its placement.
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Why Point Solar Panels At The Sun
In the demo below, we show what happens when you point solar panels at different angles from the sun.
So what Ive got here is one solar panel, its a 5W 12V panel, and Im measuring the amps how much current is flowing through the solar panel. Im at .47 amps, and Im pointing right at the sun. Im at a pretty steep angle because its November and the sun is fairly low. Im really pointing right at it. So, you can actually see from my meter that Im reading 864 watts per square meter. Thats very close to the 1000 watts per square meter that is Standard Test Conditions.
Ive got pretty good sun, and Im facing right at it. It is quarter past 2 in the afternoon and Im facing a bit southwest, so that Im facing directly at it. Ive got 19.3 volts, and .47 amps. What happens if I go slightly away from the sun? You can see from my meter here Im at 227 degrees southwest. Im going to start heading a little bit more west. And my current is at .42, my sun intensity has dropped down to 698W/sqmeter. Im not at 247 degrees. My intensity of the sun has now dropped down to 416, Im at 263 degrees, and my current has dropped down to .28. Now this is pretty dramatic. If I go just a little bit more, Im down to 193 Watts per square meter. I was way up in the 800s when I was facing you guys. Now Im down under 200. Im at 286 degrees. My current is .05, so Ive pretty much shut off the panels.
Where To Place A Solar Panel
There is a misconception that a solar panel needs to be in direct sunlight in order to be effective. While direct sunlight would have a faster charge, the solar panel itself absorbs photons from light, whether it be direct light or indirect light.
Most often you can hang the solar panel on the same tree as the trail camera itself. Just be sure that it is not under dense cover, that will impede the amount of light that will get to the panel.
Make sure to angle the solar panel slightly up, rather than slightly down as well. The more light that the panel can get the better charge it will have to the internal battery. Since light energy comes from the sun, which is obviously above us, it makes sense that an angled solar panel toward the light would collect more energy.
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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!
Local Climate Effects On Solar Production
You need sunshine to generate solar electricity, and the amount of sunshine you get depends on where you live.
Behind the scenes, The Solar Nerd calculator uses PVWatts, a tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that uses climate data and a computer model of photovoltaic panel performance to estimate how much electricity a solar array will generate.
This computer model doesnât just take into account how far south or north you are, but the average precipitation, cloud cover, and even how dusty the atmosphere in your location tends to be.
Also Check: How Often Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels
Advantages Of Solar Energy
Solar energy is the one of the most effective sources of renewable energy because of the reliable amount of sun the world gets. The ever-advancing technologies that are emerging will continue to harness this source in better, easier and cheaper ways making solar the fastest growing renewable energy source.
The carbon footprint of solar PV panels is already quite small and, as the materials used in them are being increasingly recycled, it continues to shrink.
3. Save money
Your electricity bills could decrease quite a bit because of the power you are generating and using, and not buying from your supplier.
4. No permit required
As solar panels are considered permitted development you usually don’t need a permit to install them on your roof. There are a few limitations you need to bear in mind before installation.
5. Low maintenance
Once installed, solar panels require very little maintenance. They are generally installed at an angle which allows rain to run off freely, washing dirt and dust away. As long as you keep them from becoming blocked by dirt, solar panels could last for over 25 years with little loss in efficiency.
Investing in a solar power system makes you less reliant on the National Grid for your electricity. As an energy generator, you can enjoy cheaper electricity throughout the day. And if you invest in battery storage, you could carry on using solar energy after the sun goes down.
9. Property value
The Most Efficient Solar Panels
There are two types of solar panels: PV and thermal. The type most commonly used is photovoltaic solar panels these catch the suns energy and convert it into electricity. These enable you to power your home appliances. The other type of panel is solar thermal. These enable you to heat water for your home. Most homes will install solar PV as we tend to use far more electricity so this is the most efficient way to cut down on bills.
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What Is A Solar Panel
Solar energy begins with the sun. Solar panels are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “”, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads.
Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including remote power systems for cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar electric systems.
On this page, we will discuss the history, technology, and benefits of solar panels. We will learn how solar panels work, how they are made, how they create electricity, and where you can buy solar panels.
Why Solar Panels Shouldnt Always Face South
Solar panels depend on light from the sky to make electricity. Therefore, facing them the right direction will allow your panels to produce the most power at the most important times. Read on or watch the video to find out why South is often, but not always, the best direction for solar panels in Ireland.
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Install A Pv Diverter
PV diverters are a low-cost and low maintenance option for increasing your own consumption of solar electricity .
Most of the time your solar PV system either:
Instead of sending surplus electricity to the grid, a PV diverter switch can power the immersion heater in your hot water tank, storing hot water for you to use later. On its own, excess solar energy is unlikely to meet all your hot water needs, but it can help reduce your bills.
A PV diverter switch installation could add around £500 to your installation costs.
If youre interested in using PV diverter, speak with your installer. They might also suggest increasing the number of panels on your roof to provide more electricity for your hot water needs.
You could also export the excess electricity to the grid and consider applying for export payments via a Smart Export Guarantee.
The Orientation Of Your Solar Array
Even if you live in a perfectly sunny location, your home could still be in a bad location for solar panels. Maybe you have buildings or large trees shading your property. Itâs also possible that you donât have enough roof area facing the best direction for solar, and donât have a good yard for ground mounted solar.
In fact, shade can have a major impact on the production of a solar array. If you only have a few branches or even a few trees that you can cut down, it will still make sense from an environmental point of view to cut those down to make it possible to have a good performing solar array.
But you canât just knock down a neighborâs house if itâs shading your roof. If you play with The Solar Nerd calculator, youâll see that shade will have a major negative impact on your solar break even period.
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South Is Best For Homes With Net Metering
If youre in a location where full retail net metering is available, the best direction for your solar panels is south.
Thats because if 1:1 net metering is available, your priority should be to most efficiently achieve your desired level of solar output, with no regard to when that power is produced.
Let me explain. Solar panels facing south produce the most power overall, but they also produce most of it during midday. Midday is when your consumption is typically at its lowest, so there will be lots of surplus power produced. With net metering, surplus power is actually a good thing: you can export that electricity to the grid in return for bill credits equal to the full retail value.
In other words, if youre in a location with 1:1 net metering, it wont matter when youre producing solar power. Instead, youll want a solar power setup that produces 100% of your electricity usage at the minimum possible cost this can be achieved by orienting your solar panels south.
Learn more: What is net metering and how does it work?