Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Which Way Do Solar Panels Face

Utilize Solar Panel Trackers

Which Direction Should Your Solar Panels Face?

If your budget allows, consider solar panel tracking systems. They can improve a systems output by ensuring constant, direct exposure to the sun, both during the day and across seasons. Axis trackers generate more electricity by using about the same amount of space as fixed systems.

However, its important to note that solar trackers are expensive. While a standard 4 kW fixed solar panel system costs about $11,400 after incentives, a single-axis tracking system that can produce the same amount of power – such as the Smartflower – is $20,000, or almost double that.

Solar Panel Direction: Which Way Should My Solar Panels Be Facing

Five or six years ago the question of which direction solar panels should face was easy. Because high feed-in tariffs were available, they simply had to have an orientation facing north in order to maximise the amount of electricity they produced and so earn the most feed-in tariff money possible.

But now high feed-in tariffs are a thing of the past, so the question of orientation is more complicated because of the importance of maximising self consumption, which is making sure your home uses the most solar electricity and the least grid electricity possible. The concept of self consumption is the key to tiny electricity bills with solar panels if you dont know why, read this and then come back.

Using your own solar electricity instead of grid power is far more cost effective than receiving a low feed-in tariff for sending electricity into the grid. The more you are charged for grid electricity and the lower your solar feed-in tariff, the more important it becomes to maximise self consumption.

Why Face Solar Panels East

East-facing panels produce most power in the morning. On the other hand, West-facing panels produce most power in the evening. By combining East-facing and West-facing panels in one system, you get high power output from early morning right through to late evening. This is ideal for people who work away from home during the day. These people generally need less power during the day while theyre away at work and more power during the morning and evening while theyre at home. East-West arrays are ideal for meeting this pattern of electricity demand. For a similar reason, East-West arrays are very popular with Irish dairy farmers who go solar. This is because power-hungry milking equipment is mostly used in the morning and in the evening.

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Basics Of Solar Panel Orientation

So, what is the best direction for solar panels? For homeowners who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the rule of thumb is that solar panels should be oriented toward true south. This is the best orientation because it ensures that solar panels receive direct sunlight throughout the day.

It’s also worth noting that solar panels are most efficient when the sun’s rays strike them perpendicularly. Again, this true south/true north orientation can be helpful, but angle also plays a large part in this parameter.

Solar Panel Direction: North Doesnt Always Give Most Energy

What direction should solar panels face?

Optimal Orientation For Solar Panels In Australian Capitals: Directly North Isnt Always Best

It is generally accepted the best direction to face solar panels to get the maximum possible output is directly north. While this is not a bad direction, it is often possible to get a very small boost by having them face slightly away from due north. Usually facing them a little to the east will improve output, but in some locations a small nudge to the west is best.

While it doesnt make much difference, the misapprehension that due north is always best is very common and if you believed it yourself up until now, dont worry, its not your fault. Its the fault of the Germans. Or at least thats who Im blaming. In every location in Germany Ive looked at due south always seems best and when solar took off Down Under this may have led people to believe due north would always be best here.1

There are two reasons why a direction other than true north can be a little bit better:

  • Lower average temperature in the morning can cause solar panels to operate more efficiently than in the afternoon, giving those that face a little to the east a slight advantage.
  • Average cloud cover can be consistently greater during certain times of day. This is often in the afternoon which gives a slight disadvantage to panels that face west, but in some places it can be the other way around.

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Take Your Next Solar Steps In Denver Or Fort Collins: Call Reenergizeco Today

REenergizeCO is a home energy efficiency company located in Colorado that offers professional solar power solutions for residential and commercial applications.

Adding solar panels to your home or building can drastically reduce your carbon footprint and can save you upwards of $100 a month on your electric bill.

We handle every aspect of solar panel installation in Colorado, from local permitting to panel selection, installation, performance testing, and determining which direction solar panels should face.

We donât believe in a standard cookie-cutter approach to solar panel installation, which is likely to lead to long-term problems with your performance and maintenance .

Instead, we take a holistic approach, beginning with a comprehensive home energy audit. This gives you a complete picture of everything going on in your home, energy-wise. It also allows us to target areas of opportunity inside the home to decrease massive heat/energy losses you might not even be aware of. Often, this leads to you needing a smaller and less expensive solar power system for your home.

Learn more about a home energy audit in Denver or installing solar power in Denver, Fort Collins, or elsewhere in Colorado⦠then contact our office to take your next steps.

We are here to answer any questions homeowners may have about home insulation, energy audits, and solar power.

Why Orientation Matters With Rooftop Solar

Generally, solar panels that face directly east or directly west produce about 20 percent less electricity than if they were facing south. This doesnt mean you wont save money, but if youre aiming to cover all of your electricity usage with solar, you may have to install a few more panels than you would otherwise need with a southern-facing system.

While it is technically possible to install solar panels on the north side of your roof, its not the best location for solar production youll likely need to use special mounting so that the panels oppose your roofs slant in order to generate electricity. This means that they wont sit flush with your roof, and will still produce relatively little electricity. If a northern-facing roof is your only option, its worth considering alternative installation options, such as ground-mounted solar or a carport installation.

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But What About The Reduced Power Output

True, South-facing solar panels still produce about 16% more power than East-West panel systems. However, boosting the power of East-West solar panels to match South-facing solar panels can cost very little. The benefit of a better generation profile is often well worth this small added cost. On top of this, you can increase DC over-sizing with East-West solar panels compared to South-facing solar panels. DC over-sizing means using more than 3kW of solar panels with a 3kW inverter. You can do this with an East-West system because the panels will never all be at maximum output at any one time. This way, DC over-sizing helps you get the maximum return for your investment by controlling inverter costs.

The Effect Of Orientation On Solar Output

What direction should your solar panels face?

The direction solar panels should ideally face for optimum sun exposure, varies depending on location. For Australia, solar power yields are higher when panels face north. In fact, all Southern Hemisphere locations should ideally position panels in a northerly direction. If your property is located in the Northern Hemisphere, panels facing south will perform best.

The direction solar panels face, along with their angle, or tilt, at that orientation are vital inputs in order to accurately calculate the solar power potential for a property. These two inputs, along with the location of the property, are needed to calculate solar energy at a given site.

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The Power Of Annotations

Even the most technically advanced algorithms cannot address or solve a problem without the right data. We know having access to data is quite valuable, but having access to data with a learnable structure is the biggest competitive advantage nowadays. Thats the power of data annotation.

A quirky image with hundreds of rooftops / Source: omdena.com

Our wonderful team of collaborators volunteered to annotate thousands of rooftops in 500+ tiles. We pulled off a smarter method of annotating the buildings, by mapping the OSM data on the raster layer in the QGIS software.

The consistent determination of the annotators resulted in a perfectly labeled dataset for Supervised Machine Learning algorithms.

The food for models was ready!

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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What Is Tilt In A Solar Panel

Tilt is the angle of your solar panels in relation to the ground. The optimal tilt will depend on where you live, what time of year it is and which way the sun moves across the sky throughout the day .

In order to calculate the optimal installation solar panel angle for your roof, we recommend using a solar calculator.

Exceptions To The Rule

What Direction Should Solar Panels Face?

Earlier, we referred to âtrue southâ tip as a general rule. Unsurprisingly, there are exceptions. The circumstances of your homeâs construction and its location might make a south-facing installation impractical. Or you might choose to point them elsewhere for aesthetic reasons.

Alternatively, your utility providerâs billing practices might call for a change of direction. Some power companies charge higher energy rates during peak-use afternoon hours. If thatâs true where you live, youâll want your solar panels to work their hardest during those hours⦠which might mean facing them in a different direction.

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Which Direction Must Solar Panels Face And What Angle Should They Be Tilted At

The response to this question might seem quite straightforward at first, but in reality, there are a number of answers when we account for the various factors that we often tend to overlook.

In this article, we explore all the elements that influence the orientation and tilt angle of solar panels.

What Direction Should I Point My Solar Panels

The direction that your solar panels face depends entirely on your geographic location that is, whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere of this world. The general rule of thumb when it comes to setting up solar panels for those living in the northern hemisphere is that the panels must face true south and in the southern hemisphere, they must face true north. These directions are ideal because the solar panels can receive direct sunlight throughout the day only in this manner.

You must, however, know the difference between magnetic south and true south to avoid any confusion. Magnetic south is the direction that the compass points towards and that is the Earths south magnetic pole. Whereas, the solar panels need to face the solar or geographic south, which is the direction of the South Pole. The same is the case with magnetic north and true north.

The direction might vary as per the usage of the solar panels. In certain cases, it might be beneficial to slightly rotate the panels away from the south direction and more towards the south-west. While directly facing the south might help the panels collect more energy, rotating it away might help in generating maximum power when it is required. If you use your solar-powered appliances more frequently in the evening, for example, and if the panels face the setting sun, they can produce more energy for this time of the day.

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Dont Forget About Tilt

Direction is only one part of the equation. Youâll also need to calculate the right angle of title for each solar panel, and that gets a lot more mathematical.

Your solar panel installation team will determine your homeâs line of latitude and then plug that into a formula to determine the most effective angle.

Technically, the formula changes from one season to the next. For that reason, some people do ask their installers to come back every few months and adjust the tilt. But most homeowners settle for a âhappy mediumâ approach, allowing them to leave their solar panels tilted at an âall-around best case scenarioâ angle all year long.

The Direction Of Solar Panels: Follow The Sun

Which Direction Should My Solar Panels Face for Optimal Performance

If your home faces South, then you have a real valuable commodity in real estate. The best light for a home for a commercial premise generally comes from the South. If your home faces North, it will be cold almost all year round. A house that faces East will enjoy a lot of sunshine, but only in the mornings Western-facing properties will enjoy sunlight in the afternoon.

When your property is South-facing, it will enjoy the sun at all times of day, albeit from various angles. This means that your property will enjoy the sunshine even in the middle of winter when there are relatively few hours of sunshine each day. A South-facing home will enjoy the sun from dawn to dusk, making it the perfect property for installing solar panels. North-facing homes are constantly in the shade and should be avoided at all costs, not just for your solar panel installation. So, conventional wisdom has always said that your solar panels should face the South. But is this the best? Or is west a better angle?

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At What Angle Should You Place Your Solar Panels

Solar panels work best when they face the sun directly, so peak power production happens when a solar panel is perfectly face-on or perpendicular to the sun. Whenever a solar panel is at an angle to the sun, it cant function at its optimum. Unfortunately, since the sun moves through the sky as the Earth rotates, a solar panel cant always stay face-on to the sun .

How Much Does Solar Panel Direction Affect Output

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

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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Solar Panel Tracking Systems

For ground-mounted panels, you might also consider installing a solar panel tracking system. Solar trackers maximize panel efficiency by rotating your panels throughout the day, allowing them to follow the movement of the sun from its rise to its set.

Just how much more efficient can a tracker make your solar panel system? One study showed that on a clear day, the average efficiency of a tracking panel was about 67%, while fixed panels only got about 40% efficiency.

As you consider solar panel tracking systems, you’ll need to decide between a single-axis or a dual-axis system. Single-axis systems only move in one direction, typically north to south. A dual-axis system allows for movement along the north-south axis and the east-west axis.

Dual-axis systems take up more space, and thus are mostly used in commercial settings. They can certainly be effective, enabling your solar panels to reposition in accordance with changing seasons when the sun is higher or lower in the sky, but they typically aren’t necessary for residential use.

Install Solar Panels On Your Roof Anyway

What Direction Should My Solar Panels Face?

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.

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Faq: Best Direction For Solar Panels

Is east or west better for solar panels?

For most homeowners in the Northern Hemisphere, panels need to face toward the geographic south, but not necessarily toward the east or west. The north-south axis tends to be more determinative of a solar panel’s efficiency.

Should solar panels face south or west?

For homeowners in the Northern Hemisphere, geographic south is typically the best direction for solar panels.

Do solar panels need to be south facing?

For homeowners who live in the Northern Hemisphere, it is recommended that solar panels be oriented toward geographic south . In other words, orient your panels according to lines of longitude rather than magnetic poles.

Which is the best direction to face solar panels in Australia?

For Australian homeowners, north-facing solar panels tend to be most effective, though a professional installer can give a more specific recommendation.

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