Leveraging solar power has become more popular in recent years thanks to the wealth of benefits that it offers.
From helping to save on the high cost of electricity to serving as a constant source of atomic and renewable energy, there’s much to be enjoyed from this resource. However, to get these dividends in full, you have to first find the optimum angle for solar panels.
Finding the optimal angle for solar panels is essential for several reasons. The orientation, inclination, and declination angle of your solar panel tilt strongly influence solar electricity production and energy yield.
One of the best fixes you can employ is getting familiar with articles on tilt angles – like this post!
We’ll go over everything you need to know to get the ideal tilt angle for your solar panel and get the very best out of your roof-mounted systems or ground-mounted solar system.
Getting the Best Angle for Energy Production
If you’re in a hurry and want to find out all you need to know about getting the ideal panel orientation for the optimum production of atomic and rene
wable energy, here is everything you need to know in a nutshell.
- In the U.S., the best direction and vertical angle to position your solar panels is southwest between an angle of 30 to 45°. With adjustable systems, you can simply recalculate and adjust accordingly afterward.
- Maximum power output is achieved when you can position solar panels perpendicular to the sun so that the ideal angle of incidence is found.
- Axis-tracking solar panels can help you find the perfect tilt angles with greater ease. Solar axis trackers make optimizing your panel’s sunlight exposure an automated affair.
Why Finding the Optimum Angle for Solar Panels Matters
Much has been made about proper solar panel orientation – there’s even a popular misconception that setting up solar panel systems on rooftops can impair their maximum energy production.
These myths about solar panel installations and setup prevail because a lot of information about solar energy production still isn’t known.
This ultimately leads to the question, why does finding the right solar panel angle matter so much? Can’t you just work with rough tilt angle estimates and leave things at that? Does the position of the horizontal surface of the photovoltaic cells matter that much?
Getting the right angle for your solar system design is critical because of how reliant solar power output is on exposure to direct sunlight.
All things being equal, the energy yield of your solar panels will increase as long as maximum exposure to sunlight can be achieved.
This is important because the path of the sun changes as the day progresses. For the best results, position your panels in a way that they will catch the sun at midday.
How to Find the Ideal Tilt Angle for Your Solar Panels
For those who are out to save as much as they possibly can on summer electricity bills, finding the optimum angle for solar panels is non-negotiable.
Proper installation and alignment of your solar energy are key to ensuring that your solar panels continue to supply you with optimal production of energy.
Quite a lot has been said about the optimal tilt angle for solar panels, however, people who aren’t familiar with how photovoltaic panels are set up may find themselves asking what a tilt angle is in the first place.
Let’s delve into that now.
Solar Panel Tilt Angle: Everything You Need to Know
Energy yield and electricity output power are directly tied to the tilt of solar panels. This angle or tilt simply refers to how your solar panel setup was set.
There is no one-size-fits-all tilt angle – your optimal tilt angle will vary significantly depending on how your device was installed.
The tilt angle for solar panels on roof-mounted systems (eg, low-angle roofs) will differ considerably from what you would need to achieve for an adjustable ground-mount system.
Another way of figuring this out is to consider the solar system in relation to the ground.
For instance, the optimal tilt angle for a solar panel setup that’s level with the ground is 0°. Conversely, a 90-degree tilt angle is what you would need to get maximum output power if your setup was set up to be upright and positioned perpendicular to the ground.
The Aim of Perfect Tilting for Solar Panel Systems
Whether you’re positioning your solar panel at latitude 35° or you’re setting it up at a 17-degree angle you ultimately have just one aim – to bring the solar panel as close to the sun as possible. This is why the angle of a solar panel should always be considered.
When you find the perfect angle, your solar panel will be able to easily trap light from the midday sun and even late afternoon sun. This is because you would have essentially found what is known as the perfect angle of incidence.
With this, energy collection becomes more efficient and you’ll be able to achieve higher solar energy production for your needs.
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Panel Angle
While it’s important that you find the optimum angle for your solar panel setup, it’s equally important that you explore other key variables as well. One of the first things that you’re likely to stumble across is the solar panel direction. Not to be confused with the tilt angle of your panel, your solar panel direction refers to the general area that your setup is facing.
The direction of your solar panel is considerably more crucial than the angle.
Why is Solar Panel Direction Important?
Solar panel direction is important because it’s what determines whether you get an appreciable amount of sunlight to work with in the first place. Finding the proper tilt angle only ensures that you don’t miss out on any extra energy offerings.
For residents in the northern hemisphere, the best direction to position your solar panel is to the true south (not the magnetic south) because a southern-facing system will get more direct sunlight compared to parallel north or true north-facing panels.
Ditching northern-facing roofs for south-facing roofs pays more dividends since the sun shines from the southern half of the sky in this region. So, facing your solar panels elsewhere puts them in a suboptimal direction.
A solar panel facing in the right direction with a poor tilt will always give you significantly better results than a solar panel facing a suboptimal direction with a perfect tilt.
Best Solar Panel Direction and Solar Panel Tilt: What to Know
The best direction and tilt for your solar panel setup is something that you generally have to establish for yourself. The main reason for this is that your region plays a key role in determining which solar panel position gives you the best results.
For example, those in the U.S. are likely to achieve maximum PV array power use when they position their panels to the true south. Remember, true south, not magnetic south.
More recently, it has been discovered that you may be able to get even better results if you position your solar panels facing the west here. So, in this context, it may be significantly more rewarding to find a south-west facing position to situate your solar panel.
In terms of finding the ideal angle of tilt, you don’t necessarily need to look for a steeper angle either. You just need to make sure that the sloped surface of the panels strikes the exact angle of incidence.
To achieve this, we recommend that you position the solar panel systems in direct, perpendicular sunlight. This will ensure maximum array power generation and the highest annual power output.
Consider placing your solar panel between 30 to 45 degrees to start with. Latitude increases can then follow to further optimize the results that you want to get.
Additionally, doing this will also make sure that the solar panel system has maximum cell temperature levels to keep operating at full capacity.
Finding the Optimum Angle for Solar Panels
When finding the optimum angle for solar panels to get the ideal level of extraterrestrial radiation intensity, there are several variables to consider.
The optimal production of energy from your solar panels is heavily dependent on the latitude it is positioned at. Residents of the United States are likely to find that their energy needs would be sufficiently met if they place their solar panels between 30° and 45°.
This has been established to be the ideal angle during winter and summer for tapping direct sunlight in this region.
Another way that you can go about this is to find out the exact latitude of your home and tip your panels at that exact angle. This is great for helping you locate and get the most out of the average position of the rays of sunlight throughout the year.
One common method that homeowners have been known to employ along these lines is finding the perfect solar tilt angle by zip code.
No matter which approach you take, the fact remains that you’re likely to undergo a fair amount of stress. However, the eco-friendly and cost-saving potential of solar energy makes it all more than worth it.
Roof Quality and Design
The best-case scenario for roof-mounted systems is that your roof is already angled at the ideal latitude. However, since every property has a unique design, this expectation might not be very realistic.
What is more likely is that the roof angle features a sloped surface that falls between 30 and 40 degrees latitude. All things being equal, this isn’t such a bad thing as you should ideally be able to get a decent level of annual cell temperature from this.
For proper installation of solar panels on a roof, traditional racking systems might now cut it. In this case, you would have to seek alternative installation options.
Most times, this means getting specialized racking, even if you’re dealing with a flat roof, to ensure that you’ll have more flexibility with tilting your panels to help enhance exposure to sunlight. The same thing applies to a steep roof.
What matters here is that you let a certified expert see to the details of the solar panel installation process as this will guarantee you get excellent results.
One of the most obvious limitations of solar energy is the fact that weather conditions can have such a dominant effect on how much energy production you can get from this resource at any given time.
Winter energy production dips when it comes to solar power. However, you can record significant energy production during periods like the summer solstice.
Navigating the changing seasons while using solar panels means taking steps like mounting your solar panel at a steeper angle during winter in the northern hemisphere. During winter months, using winter angles like 60° can help you get that much-needed extra energy.
Doing this will also help keep the snow – which can potentially limit your PV characteristics – away from your array.
Adjusting solar panel angles by season is necessary because it makes sure that you get as much solar production during the summer season as you do during the winter season.
Frequently Asked Questions
The considerable upfront cost of setting up a solar energy output system means that you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t find the ideal tilt angle to make the most of this resource.
Here are some frequently asked questions about setting up solar panels and how to find the optimum angle for solar panels.
How do I find the best angle for my array power output?
In most cases, the best solar tilt angle for residents of the U.S. lies between 30° and 45°. This is a rule of thumb that’s always worth following because it effectively helps you place your panels in a way that they get maximum exposure to sunlight.
What direction should my ground-mounted system face?
For optimal solar panel output, it’s recommended that your ground-mount system or roof-mounted systems face south to south-west. Again, this recommendation is particular to residents of the United States.
Since the U.S. is in the northern hemisphere, direct sunlight exposure comes from the southern direction. Again, keep in mind that you want to avoid placing your panels in an unfavorable direction as this can severely hamper the efficiency of their energy production.
Is tilting my solar panel worth the effort?
Yes, tilting your solar panel is almost worth the effort. The biggest perk of following tilt angle estimates is that they can drastically enhance the efficiency of sunlight collection.
This will greatly increase your chances of finding the perfect solar hour angle, so you’ll always be able to get the maximum PV array power output.
Are solar-axis trackers worth it?
Yes, solar-axis trackers are worth the investment. As an example, a good four seasons two-axis tracker can effectively guarantee that you never have to deal with tilt angle anxiety.
Regardless of the season or time of year, it’ll track the ever-changing position of the sun for you and automatically adjust your panels accordingly.
Finding the optimum angle for solar panels can make all the difference. By doing this, you’ll be able to maximize annual energy production consistently.
You’ll also get more value for your money and won’t have to pay as much for regular electricity anymore.
You can find more great trips for optimizing your electricity production and use here.