Maximising Energy Efficiency: How Solar Panel Orientation Affects Installation

Solar panels are becoming a popular green energy choice for homeowners in the UK and further afield. However, if you’re going to achieve the best energy efficiency from your panels then it’s vital that they’re installed at the correct angle.

Solar panel orientation drastically affects the performance of your system so getting it right the first time is a must.

This is why we always recommend hiring a professional solar panel installation company to do the work. In this short guide, I’ll be explaining the importance of correct orientation in a little more detail.

What’s The Best Angle For Solar Panels?

There’s something of a sweet spot when it comes to the angle that a solar panel is installed. It’s commonly accepted that installing the panels between a 15º and 40º tilt will ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

However, that’s a pretty wide gap so you’ll find that most solar panels are installed somewhere between 18º and 34º. Of course, you need to take into account the angle of your roof but your solar panel installer will work out the finer details of this for you.

The reason for this positioning is to ensure that the panels receive as much sunlight as possible to power them. The more you deviate away from this, the less energy the panels will receive and their efficiency will drop.

What’s more, it’s also worth considering that solar panels are coated in a material that prevents water and dirt from sticking to them. While they probably will need to be cleaned periodically, having the correct tilt ensures that any debris and water will roll off.

What Direction Should Solar Panels Face To Get The Most Sun?

Another thing to consider when installing solar panels is the direction in which they face. Here in the UK (and anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere), it’s best to have the panels facing south as this exposes them to the greatest amount of sun.

Conversely, installing panels on a north-facing roof would bring about the least amount of efficiency and you’d be able to rely on solar energy far less.

Of course, a lot of people have east or west-facing roofs but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have solar panels installed. In fact, experts say that pretty much all roofs have the possibility of solar power when panels are placed thoughtfully.

What Happens If My Roof Isn’t South Facing?

If you don’t have a south-facing roof then it’s still possible to have solar panels installed. If you can orient them so that they face south-east or south-west then you’ll still be able to generate a good amount of power.

When it comes to choosing between East and West, a lot of installers agree that the West is the preferable option.

However, in both cases, you’ll get at least half a day’s sun on the panels; east-facing will receive sun in the morning while west-facing will receive sun in the afternoon. Of course, there’s always the possibility of having half of the panels installed on the east roof and half on the west.

In any of the above cases, it can be worthwhile to invest in additional equipment such as an optimising device. While this will cost more, it’ll ensure that your panels perform to their max.

Does Position Matter: Horizontal vs Vertical Installation

In the UK, most solar panels are installed vertically but this is more of a practical consideration relating to ease of installation than it is to do with how efficient they’ll be.

Since most solar panels are longer than they are narrow, they fit better on the frames and anchors vertically. If you were to install them horizontally, there would be a need for more railing frames and this would incur additional costs.

What’s more, the slant of the roof houses a panel vertically much better than it does horizontally which is why most solar panel installation companies choose this orientation. The only time that you might see them installed horizontally would be on a flat roof.

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