SOLAR PANELS AND OPTIMAL DIRECTION
One thing to consider when adding a solar array to your home is the ‘optimal direction’. This refers to the direction in which your panels should face to optimize (or receive the most) solar energy and get the best bang for your buck. You ultimately want your panels will produce the most energy. Many things can affect how efficient your system is – a high surrounding tree line, or nearby mountain range. You may also want to think about how many panels it will take to cover your usage, but depending on the efficacy of you array, you may need less than you think.
FACING THE SUN: Optimal Direction
SOUTH - Traditionalists can sum this entire subject up in a single word – SOUTH...or if you’d like to get fancy – south-facing. If your home faces direct North or South, this is typically a good thing. Pointing your panels south (on the front or back of your roof) can usually capture the most amount of overall sunshine. Your installer will more than likely tilt the panels at a 30-40 degree angle to account for the latitude of your home in regards to where you reside in the United States.
WEST – While southern-facing panels work when you have standard tier-based rate structure with the utility provider. This means you are charge based on the amount of energy you use on average. If you use a lot of energy, you may be charge a higher rate than your energy-conscious neighbors surrounding your home.
A west-facing array works best for time-of-use (TOU) rate structures. Time-of-use refers to rates charged during peak times (when most people will need power), rather than based of your volume. This can refer to 2PM-7PM or when most families return from work & school and then fire up the stove to cook dinner before turning on the TV and lights when the sun goes down.
If you a have west-facing array, you will be producing more solar energy while the sun is going down when all of this usage is taking place. You will be producing more when you are typically using more.
Adding this angled tilt to your panels is to ensure the light refracts at a perpendicular angle to produce the most power. This is also a safeguard for drainage of water and snow in northern states that can see inches (or even FEET) of snow throughout the winter months. Panels may not need the angled install, but your roof slope will need to be angled perfectly. If your installer confirms the angle for your roof is optimal, you may be able to install them flush to your roofline. Roofs come at with many different angles and directions so this is ever-changing. Some are flat, some are steep so this is something to consider. Your roof angle and direction will affect the type of mounting system needed to help position your panels to produce the most energy possible.
TALK TO AN EXPERT
The optimal direction and angle of your solar panel array isn’t something you need to lose sleep over. Call ONIT Energy today and let us worry about the best placement of your system! 682-284-1174