What is the best direction for my solar panels?

When you’re thinking about getting solar panels installed on your rooftop to power your home, there’s a lot of things you might have thought of like; how much power each panel can produce, how many panels you’ll need or the size of panels and space requirements. There’s one other important aspect that can affect how well they’ll work with your rooftop. And as you might have guessed, you’ll also need to consider the best direction for solar panels to face. Here, we’ll talk about a couple of options for solar panel positioning.

Why Orientation and Tilt are Important?

The more surface area of a solar panel is exposed to the sun rays, the more energy can be harvested. However, solar modules (panels) are generally fixed on a position while sun moves around in the sky, making it difficult to maximize energy yield. So, correct orientation and positioning assures that solar modules get access to the sun throughout the day.

For example, the sun stays comparatively lower in the sky during winters compared to summers. So, the tilt of solar panels has to be more vertical during these months. However, during summer, the sun is much higher in the sky and is almost overhead, so, horizontal tilt of solar panels works efficiently in harvesting solar energy in these seasons. This is generally what’s referred to as the ‘tilt’ of the solar system.

Also, solar panels have to face the Sun at all times of the year in order to maximize energy yield. This is achieved by facing the solar panels towards south in the Northern hemisphere and towards the North in the Southern hemisphere. The direction in which the panels are tilted is known as ‘orientation’ of the panels. Thus, it is apparent that orientation of panels greatly impacts its accessibility to sun rays.

How should I install my solar panels?

India geographically is a vast country with 28 states and 8 union territories stretching 8°4′ to 37°6′ North latitude and 68°7′ to 97°25′ East longitude boundaries.

So, the traditional advice for installing panels is to make them south-facing, as the sun is mostly along the southern part of the sky, as we complete our yearly orbit around it. But the ideal tilt for installation is not uniform throughout the country and varies just about equal to the latitude of your location (how far north you are in relation to the equator). So, solar panels installed in Punjab will have greater tilt compared to the ones in Kerala.

Generally, it’s common knowledge in the solar industry that these south-facing panels should be tilted between 10° to 40° angles. This is to ensure that sunlight hits panels at a perpendicular angle, which helps to produce the most energy. An angle (tilt) along these lines also helps proper drainage of rainwater and allows for self-cleaning of panels more easily during monsoon.

Some rooftops slope just about perfectly in a way that lets installers secure the panels against them and still be at a great angle for capturing the sun’s energy. Other rooftops might be steeper, or some others are flat. If your roof is not flat, the best angle to mount your solar panels is the angle that your roof has been built at. If you have a flat roof you should mount them on tilt frames Depending on the type of roof you have, there are different mounting systems to help position your solar panels so that they can provide best energy generation.

For a customised solar installation suitable for your roof-type and energy savings requirement you could speak to an industry expert.

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