Which Way Should Solar Panels Face
When youre installing solar panels, you want to be confident youre being set up to maximise the value youre going to get from that investment. In order to do so, you need as much sun to hit your panels as possible.
For this reason, most solar panels in Australia are installed facing north. However many experts argue that east-west facing solar panels better align with when most Australians use electricity in the morning and afternoon.
With feed-in tariffs having dropped significantly over the past decade and electricity prices having risen, aligning your solar generation with the times you use electricity could be more important than ever.
Three Tips For Solar Shoppers
1. Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energys National Renewable Energy Laboratory recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, youll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.
2. The biggest installers typically dont offer the best price
The bigger isnt always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you dont overpay for solar.
3. Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
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.
So What Direction Should Solar Panels Face
The following is a guest post by Dr. Joshua Rhodes, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Webber Energy Group and the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
The following is a guest post by Dr. Joshua Rhodes, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Webber Energy Group and the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
There has recently been a lot of buzz about which direction solar panels should face. It seems the initial conversation was prompted by a Pecan Street Inc. report that looked at output from real solar arrays and found those facing west tended to have better power output alignment with summer peak power demand something different than maximum total annual energy production. Not long after, Greentech media ran an article titled Are Solar Panels Facing the Wrong Direction? that was reblogged/run/wired through other outlets including National Geographic, USA Today and others. Recently, the New York Times and Popular Science even purported that solar panels should face west, rather than south, to avoid unintended consequences. However, each of the above only considers the simplified case of west- or south-facing panels. Just like the amount of sun that a place receives, the answer is not the same everywhere.
The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.
Pick The Right Location And Solar Panel Direction
If you are looking to achieve cost savings by installing your own solar power system, it is highly recommended that you put some time aside and carefully analyze and determine the right location for your solar panels. The optimum place to install solar panels usually depends on the position, inclination and its orientation towards the sun.
Solar panel direction during Summer and Winter
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Do They Have To Be Attached To The Roof
The majority of solar panels owners choose to have their panels attached to their roof. This has led to something of an assumption that they have to be placed on the roof. But this is not necessarily the case. Roof-mounted solar panels do have plenty of advantages such as being out of the shade of trees, as well as being protected from heavy wind.
However, free-standing solar panels can also be valuable as they can be placed facing south and at any angle you wish. Alternatively, integrated solutions such as faÃ§ade and flat-roof solar panels can be used to replace conventional building materials.
If you would like to learn more about solar panels and how to get as much out of them as possible we have created a section with useful video content and FAQs. Alternatively, you can get in contact with us today to talk with our highly experienced team who will be happy to answer any questions you have: or Call: .
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How Electricity Tariffs Affect The Optimal Solar Panel Orientation
Your panel can have different monetary values, so its important to know about the energy produced by a solar panel. If you are always charged the same kilowatt-hour price, your goal should be getting maximum production from solar panels.
However, many electric companies apply time-of-use tariffs, which change throughout the day. The highest kWh prices are normally billed in the afternoon and evening, since that is when the grid faces maximum consumption. There are many factors that increase operating costs, and this leads to higher tariffs:
- Electric companies must bring more power plants online to meet the peak in consumption, including the plants with high generation costs.
- Since power lines and transformers are carrying a high current, they waste more energy as heat emissions.
- Electrical faults are more likely when the grid is burdened, creating a higher risk of blackouts.
Many power companies apply higher electricity prices at times of peak demand to compensate for their higher operating cost. The high kilowatt-hour price also disincentives consumption in homes and businesses, helping unburden on the grid.
Which Direction Should Your Solar Panels Face
As you can probably guess, solar panels generate more electricity when they are facing directly at the sun. While some utility-scale solar farms have structures that track the movement of the sun, residential and off-grid systems are generally left at the same orientation all year round.
In many cases, you wont be able to choose which way you mount your panels, as you will be placing solar panels on an existing roof. In this case, it is important to understand how different orientations will affect the output of the panels.
If you have an off-grid or ground-mounted setup, you may be flexible in which way to face your panels. In this case, the ideal direction will depend on where you are located in the world, and what your goals are for your system.
This article will cover both these scenarios.
The orientation of your solar panels can be broken down into two types Azimuth, and Tilt.
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Fixed Solar Panel Angle & Direction By Zip Code
- Post author:Solar Sena
The table below lists the optimal tilt angle and direction for fixed solar panels for the US cities and regions by zip codes.
Note: The optimal title angle does not change for different zip codes within the same city or region. Also, the optimal direction for fixed solar panels is south for the entire US. If your city is not listed in the below table, you use SolarSenas optimal tilt angle calculator to find the angle for your desired location.
Start Saving With Solar
Remember, you dont need to live in the sunniest state in the country or have a rooftop that faces directly south to take advantage of the financial benefits of solar the most important factor in determining your solar savings is how much you pay for electricity. By going solar, you reduce or even eliminate your utility electricity costs, so even if you arent perfectly maximizing your electricity production, your solar investment can still pay off in a big way. Use EnergySages Solar Calculator today to determine just how much you can save.
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Whats The Best Direction For Solar Panels To Face
While the best direction for solar panels to face is south, take the guesswork off the table. The best way to know for sure what works for your home is to consult a Solar Energy Specialist. Our trained technicians offer an extensive knowledge of all things solar and were with you at every step of your process. Get in touch today, and see how solar panels can benefit your home.
Does My House Have To Face South For Solar To Work
The short answer is no. We can install panels on South, East, or West facing roofs. North is the only direction that we dont want to put panels on. Why is that?
Solar panels convert light into DC electricity. The sun doesnt have to be beaming directly on the panels at the perfect angle to work. Panels will even produce some electricity on cloudy days when you dont see an ounce of sunshine.
However, the more direct the sunlight is on the panels, the more electricity theyll produce. This means that placing your panels at the ideal angle will increase the amount of your electric bill that is offset.
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Solar Panel Installation With Energy Saving Pros
We provide solar power solutions for all types residential, commercial, educational, municipal, industrial, and agricultural facilities. Our solar power experts can design solar energy systems of any size for any location. With optimal positioning, your new solar panel installation will operate at peak performance and maximize energy production all year round.
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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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?
The Best Direction For Solar Panels In Florida
As a homeowner in Florida, its important to understand the best direction for solar panels on your home.
The most efficient position is south-facing panels towards the sun with an angle of 30 degrees.
Solar energy is an increasingly popular power source for homes and businesses across the country. But where should you install them?
Here are some of the best directions for solar panels in Florida. First, position them to maximize sun exposure during different times of the day.
For example, if theyre facing south, theyll receive more sunlight during midday hours than at sunrise or sunset- so keep that in mind when positioning them!
Second, consider their orientation East/West vs. North/South which will also affect how much sun they get at different points throughout the day.
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Environmental Influences On The Angle Of Tilt
Environmental factors in your location may also have a bearing on the optimum angle of tilt for your solar panels. The lower the angle of the inclination, the more likely it is that your solar panel will collect leaves, dirt, and snow, all of which will affect the panels efficiency.
But in more northern states with higher latitudes, the optimal angle of tilt is fairly steep anyway, so if you are following best advice, then your solar panels will already be angled in such a way that snow and other things slide off easily.
Why Face Solar Panels South
Photovoltaic solar panels produce electricity from light. More light means more electricity. You might have heard that a South-facing garden gets more light than a North-facing garden. Well, its the same for solar panels. Researchers have found that in Ireland, South-facing panels produce the most electricity. So why is South not always the best direction for solar panels?
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A Recent Discovery Of Interest
Whilesilicon has proven to be a reliable root element in the manufacturing of solarcells, scientists continue to investigate new methods and new materials thatmight be better than what is currently in place. For example, silicon has an upper limit of 29percent efficiency in converting light to energy.
A mineral known as perovskite has been shown to achieve efficiency ratings of up to 20 percent, which is less than that of silicon, but it is much easier to artificially produce, and its light-to-energy process is much simpler. But the findings occurred in a sterile lab environment. Real-world capabilities are still under scrutiny.
The Best Direction For Solar Panels For Homes
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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Best Solar Panel Direction Overall
South is the best direction for solar panels to face overall. In nearly all cases, homeowners will achieve the highest electric bill savings and a quickest payback period by facing their solar panels south over any other direction.
Having your panels face south improves the economics of solar in the following ways: it maximizes solar output, it maximizes your ability to take advantage of net metering, and it maximizes your ability to utilize battery storage.
We explore each of these reasons in more detail below.