Solar panels function by transforming sunlight into electricity. Thus, it comes as no surprise that they are at their most efficient when the sun’s rays can hit them directly. Considering that their output also determines how much money you get to save on bills, the question: where is the best place to mount solar panels? becomes essential.
Whether you are considering going solar for your home or business, here is all you need to know about solar panel positioning.
Where to Put Solar Panels
Most of the time, people opt to place their solar panels on their roofs. This decision makes sense, as roofs are the highest points of homes and, therefore, receive the most sunlight. Roofs are also usually out of the shade of any nearby trees. Furthermore, panels on higher roofs are out of the way of strong winds, which gives them more protection.
However, all of these benefits do not mean that roofs are the only suitable spots for solar panels. In fact, free-standing panels can produce just as much energy, and their positioning does not depend on the shape of a roof. You can also position them at the perfect angle for maximum efficiency, which often isn’t possible on top of a roof.
The only disadvantage of ground panels is their cost. While roof panels attach to an already existing surface, the ones on the ground require more work. Your solar provider must build a structure that will support the panels, making the investment more expensive.
In addition, ground panels might also entail a more complex permission procedure. That can happen if building the supporting structure includes any excavation or concrete pouring.
The Best Direction for Solar Panels
Another factor you should consider when installing your solar panels is the direction they will face. In the northern hemisphere, your panels should be turned to the true south, as that is a way to ensure they get direct sunlight all day long. In other words, turning your panels to true south will give them the maximum amount of time possible to generate power for your home.
You should note that true south is not always the same as magnetic south, i.e., the one that a compass points to. To avoid any mistakes, you should think of it this way: your panels should be pointed toward the South Pole.
In addition, it might be beneficial to turn your panels slightly southwest. That way, they will be able to collect more sunlight in the afternoon, as the sun begins to set. However, that is only a good option if you require more energy in the afternoons. Thus, it is all up to your preferences and needs.
The Best Angle for Solar Panels
The tilt of the panels is another point to consider when it comes to mounting your solar system. Providers calculate the optimal angle based on the geographical location of your home or, more specifically, its latitude.
For example, if your home is at 45° latitude, your panels should be tilted at that same angle as well. Generally speaking, the closer your location is to the Equator, the more your panels will need to be angled toward the sun. Conversely, if you are closer to the poles, the panels will have to point toward the Equator.
In sum, it’s best to position your panels where they’ll be directly exposed to the sun. Usually, that means putting them on your roof, but ground panels are also a possibility. In addition, it is imperative to think about the tilt and direction for your panels.
Though all of this might seem too complicated, it is nothing to worry about. If you find a reputable solar partner, the company will calculate everything for you and mount your panels to be at their most efficient.