Solar panels are a great energy-efficient solution for a greener home. These panels are capable of absorbing sunlight and turning it into electricity. How cool!
Obviously, solar panels work best with they are faced with as much direct sunlight as possible. Don’t get me wrong, indirect sunlight also works but placing your solar panels in the right direction will let you get the best output energy.
And you’ll save lots of money!
Are Solar Panels Only for Roofs?
Although solar panels are mostly seen on rooftops, you can also install them on the ground, above parking stations, close to walls, rainwater tanks, or exterior corridors. This depends on the orientation and placement of solar panels.
Apart from substituting your electricity uses in the house, solar panels can also be used to heat your pool!
Installing the solar panels on the top of your house is usually the best place because it’s out of your hair, and you still have space in your yard. However, shade from really tall trees and other tall buildings can affect the amount of sunlight your panels get.
In some cases, your roof may not be suitable for solar panels. This applies to certain roof designs, what your roof is made from, and if your area receives too much snow during winter.
If your solar panels are covered in snow, it can affect how much electricity it generates. However, this doesn’t last long because snow can’t fight the battle with the heat.
For those with the ground space, installing your solar panels on ground level allows you to easily adjust your panels and do other repairs if necessary. Saves climbing up a ladder!
What Is the Best Direction for Solar Panels?
Solar panels give you the most energy when it’s placed perpendicular to the sun. The direction and angle are important to maximize the amount of solar energy you receive. This, in turn, allows you to have more appliances running on sunlight rather than electricity.
We love to see a pleasant electric bill!
If you live in the northern hemisphere, the best direction to place your solar panels is south, whereas homes in the south would have to have to install their panels in a northern orientation. Experts recommend you position the solar panels to true south and the azimuth angle, which lets you get the best position for catching Mr. Sun with ease.
You can install your solar panels on the north side of the roof, however, it’s not the perfect position for solar energy. If you need to do this, you would have to get special mounting (probably super expensive) to make sure that the panels is against your roof’s slant to produce electricity.
If you live in the southern hemisphere, your solar panels should be directed toward the north. So basically, the opposite! This allows your panels to get direct sunlight throughout the day. However, you can direct it towards the south if you don’t have a choice, with a little extra work.
Solar panels that face directly east or west give you about 15% to 20% LESS electricity compared to north and south in the respective hemispheres.
You would still save money, but facing it in the incorrect direction depending on your hemisphere won’t let you cover all your electricity uses with solar energy. You would have to get more solar panels, which means more cost for you!
What About the Solar Panel Angle?
The angle of your solar panel is also important to ensure full exposure to the sun. In order to collect lots of solar power efficiently, you have to angle the panels to face as close to the sun as possible.
Photovoltaics (the thing that converts the sunshine into electricity) will produce the most electricity when the angle of incidence is small or when the sunlight gets on the panel as close as perpendicular as possible.
Putting your solar panels at the correct angle will allow your panels to get direct sunlight, which equals maximum electricity for the household.
What’s More Important: Solar Panel Direction or Angle?
There are various factors that play into determining the angle of your solar panels, such as roof design, seasons, latitude, and time of the year. So, many people think that it’s the most important factor to consider with solar panels.
However, this is not entirely true.
While the angle is fairly important, the direction of the panels is key in getting the best sunlight. If you don’t face your solar panels in the correct direction according to the hemisphere you live in, you won’t get enough sunlight, which reduces the amount of electricity.
If you have the wrong angle but the correct direction, you will produce more solar energy than the correct angle in the wrong direction. That was a mouthful!
Well, it’s best to have the correct direction and angle so you can be super-efficient and make the most of renewable energy!
Is a Solar Tracker Necessary?
The sun’s position does not stay constant throughout the day, so to keep your solar panels angled perfectly to grab the most sunlight would be to install a solar tracker.
This device follows the sun as it moves throughout the day, which will keep your energy production up. If you have a ground solar system, this tracker setup is good to have to optimize your panels.
But in my opinion, it’s not that necessary to have, and it can be an extra cost.
Solar trackers can be very expensive and hard to install if you have solar panels on the roof. Trackers are usually used in commercial solar systems, as they can really increase energy production.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I tilt my solar panels?
Absolutely! Tilting your solar panels will allow them to get more energy from the sun. You should tilt them close to the same angle as the latitude of your house (which is usually calculated by your installation company) so you get maximum output for your home.
Can solar panels be installed on side of house?
Yes, but it’s hardly the first choice for installation companies. However, it’s possible and is done for various reasons, but it can be pricey than horizontal ones because special rails and anchors will have to be used for support.