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Navigating Solar: Does the Direction of My Panels Matter?

Ashleigh AngellSeptember 24, 20183960

Navigating Solar: Does the Direction of My Panels Matter?

When you install solar panels onto your roof, yes, the direction does, in fact, matter. While you might not have thought too much about it, the position of the sun, the direction your panels are facing, and the number of peak sunlight hours in correlation with the direction those peaks are at, are all vital components to getting the most out of your solar system. Even if your solar panels aren’t able to face that direction, that doesn’t make them not worth it. Break out that compass and let’s figure out which way you should make sure your panels are facing when you install new panels.

The Ideal Direction

When people think about directions and the sun, usually two directions come to mind: east and west. The direction that might not come to your mind is the elusive south. Panels facing the southern direction will get the most sunlight and be the most effective because of how the sun moves across the sky and which vertical direction it tends to lean towards.

The Other Directions

If your panels are placed facing the west, the late afternoon and early evening will provide the most energy. This is important because these are not peak sunlight hours and won’t provide as much energy - in fact, you’ll have 20% less than someone whose panels are facing the south. You can decrease this to 15% just by changing the tilt of your panels from 30 degrees to 15 degrees. However, if you use most of your energy in the late afternoon/early evening, this might actually be the optimal position for your lifestyle. It really depends on you and your personal preference.

If they’re facing the east, you’ll get the most energy in the morning. Like with the west-facing panels, they’ll get 20% less than a panel facing the south, but can also be tilted to decrease that by 5%. And similar to the west-facing ones, if a majority of your energy output is during the morning, this might actually be the ideal choice for you.

Tech for the Sun

There’s also some amazing technology you can add to your solar system to get the most from the sun. One of these technological toys is a solar tracker, which follows the sun. Another is an adjuster you can add to your panel to manually adjust the panel as the sun moves across the sky. Just ask your solar installer about any neat gadgets you can invest in to get the most out of your panel.

Despite the Direction, Solar is Better

While you may decrease your energy generation by as much as 20% by putting your panel in a different facing direction, the fact remains: switching to solar energy is always the right choice. No matter which direction they face, you’ll be paying less in the long run than you would be if you continued to use a power company to provide you your energy. You’ll still be eligible for rebates and tax credits. You’ll still be able to buy batteries to store your energy or sell it to a power company for extra money. You’ll still be helping combat climate change. You’ll still be winning, no matter which direction your panel is facing.

Want to learn more information about how to maximize your solar efficiency and get the most out of your solar energy system? Check out the HahaSmart blog!

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