What is the Best Angle for Solar Panels? Why it Matters…

If you’ve chosen to purchase solar panels for the roof of your home or some portable panels to take with you for your outdoors adventures, congratulations. You just took a giant step towards becoming more eco-friendly and reducing your carbon footprint. Solar energy is certainly the wave of the future.

After you buy the panels, you’ll have two choices regarding their installation: install them yourself or trust a professional to do it for you. Either way, you’ll be interested to know that they have to be installed a certain way in order to be efficient and work properly. This is why asking the question of what is the best angle for solar panels is a good one and deserves to be answered correctly.

What is the Best Angle for Solar Panels?
Image by Sebastian Ganso from Pixabay

How Should You Install Your Home Solar Panels?

To maximize the energy obtained from your solar panels, they have to be installed in the proper place. As a general rule, this means installing them close to or equal with the number that represents the latitude of your home, provided that you have a roof that faces south. This number applies to most homeowners living in the United States. The panels are also usually installed on a tilt and angled in a way that allows them to face as close to the sun as possible. You will need to know both the direction and the angle for your solar panels in order for your system to be the most efficient but both are easy to determine.

How do you get started when determining the best direction for your solar energy system? For starters, if you live in the southern hemisphere, the panels should be pointed true north. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the panels should point true south. Keep in mind that true north or south is not the same thing as finding that direction on a compass. Websites such as Google Earth show true north or south on their grids so it’s easy to find the direction this way.

When it comes to the exact angle, you can get even more specific. A little math is necessary but don’t worry because it isn’t too complicated. If you use Google Maps or similar programs, it is easy to find out the latitude of your home. Once you get that number, use one of the following calculations:

SeasonAngle Formula
Spring/FallLatitude minus 2.5 degrees
Summer(Latitude x 0.9) minus 23.5 degrees
Winter(Latitude x 0.9) minus 29 degrees

Of course, although these numbers are sufficient to get the results you need and deserve, keep in mind that you may have to alter them just a bit in certain circumstances. For instance, if anything is blocking the sun from getting to your panels — a tree, a shed, etc. — you’ll have to angle the panels a little differently. The sun must hit the panels themselves in order to do its job but if you plan out ahead of time exactly where your panels will go, it makes the installation job a whole lot easier.

How Should You Set Up Your Portable Solar Panels?

The biggest advantage of using portable solar panels is the fact that they are portable and have not been installed to a fixed angle. This means that you can adjust how your panels face throughout the day to maximize the amount of solar power generated. All you need to do is set up the solar panels to directly face the sun at a perpendicular angle and over the course of the day, go out and make adjustments to both the facing and angle to ensure the maximum energy generation is achieved.

Why Is Angle So Important?

The answer to the question of what is the best angle for solar panels is an answer that consists of several parts. Once you learn the basics, installing your panels correctly is a piece of cake. If you’re curious why the direction and angle are so important, the answer is really very simple. Your panels will always produce the most energy when the sun is directly perpendicular to them. This means that for the best results, your panels should be tilted in a different direction depending on the season.

Of course, this is the ideal situation but not always a practical one. You can ask the company that provided the solar panels for a suggestion on an angle that will work right all year long to save you from constantly getting up on your roof and changing the angle of the panels. Even if the angle that you keep the panels in isn’t the “ideal” angle, it will still allow them to work efficiently all year long.

In order for your solar power system to work efficiently, installing the panels properly is crucial. This includes making sure that both the direction and the angle are correct so that in the end, you’ll know that your system is working as efficiently as possible year after year.

Conclusion

Regardless of which type of solar panel or other types of solar gear you purchase, the consistent factor you have to take into account in order to maximize your energy production and that is the panels facing the sun and the angle in which that gear faces it. As I have stated earlier in this article, for home solar installations, be sure to consult a solar installation professional if you are not sure about the proper panel facing or angle. This can save you both time and money in the long run to have it installed correctly.

Portable solar panels and solar gear owners need to consult their manufacturers’ manual on how to properly set up their gear to maximize their solar power generation capabilities. As you know, this type of solar gear offers the most advantages in terms of power generation at the cost of a little manual adjusting, as opposed to, the set and forget ideal with having it installed to a structure.

If you are looking for additional information on solar power, be sure to take a moment to look at our articles about solar energy and the beginner’s guide to photovoltaic technology.

James Adams

Just a geek with a passion for saving the planet with solar technology...Or at least my little corner of it. Researching tech is something I really enjoy doing so my joy became this website. Hope you enjoy the content!

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