You’re ready to get started with your new solar system. But before you install it, there’s one more thing to figure out: where will you put it?
When you’re planning your solar system, you need to consider:
- How many solar panels you’ll need
- The condition of your roof
- Whether you want a grid-tied or off-grid system
And with all that in mind, there’s still one more thing to decide: how will you orient your panels?
You want to generate the most solar energy possible. Is the solution to buy more panels? Not always. In some cases, it’s a matter of adjusting the angle and orientation of your system.
Here’s how to optimize the position of your solar panels:
The right position for your solar panels will depend on where you live—or, more specifically, where you are relative to the equator.
The sun shines directly over the equator; for maximum solar power generation, you need your solar panels to face the equator.
We’re going to assume that most of our readers live in the Northern Hemisphere (which includes Canada and the United States). Since you’re north of the equator, your solar panels need to face true south for direct sunshine. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll require solar panels that will face true north.
Do you have a roof-mounted solar system? If so, it may be limited by the direction it faces. What should you do if you don’t have a south-facing roof? There are a few workarounds:
- Use a ground-mounted setup instead. If you have the space for it, you can mount the panels to the ground. That way, you can ensure they’ll face south for optimum energy production.
- Install the panels anyway. You can still produce solar energy without a south-facing roof. Keep in mind that solar production will be lower—in some cases, east/west-facing roofs produce up to 20% less energy than south-facing roofs.
Now that you’ve placed your PV panels, you’re wondering how to angle them. In general, we recommend that you tilt your panels at an angle equal to your geographical latitude. With this setup, sunlight will hit the panels at a perpendicular angle.
If you live in Manitoba, the angle of your solar panels should be roughly 53° (you should adjust the angle based on the specific area you live in).
By tilting your panels at a steeper angle, snow is more likely to slide off the surface. But if this doesn’t work for your setup, don’t worry; sunlight will melt most of the snow off, anyway.
Keep in mind that the angle of your panels will vary depending on how steep your roof is. If you have a flat roof, you may need to adjust the panels differently. Our solar panel installers can help you position your panels for success.
When your solar system is placed in an optimal location, you’ll enjoy a greater output of solar energy. Powertec Solar is an award-winning solar installation company, and we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about aligning your solar panels. Contact us today!