Cultivating power using solar energy is found in many residential and commercial applications and is growing year after year. In order to maximize the amount of power generated from PV cells, understanding the path the sun takes is an important piece of data.
This information will help you choose the best installation location, tilt degree and if adjusting tilt based on season is worth the time investment. Lets get started.
What Exactly is Solar Panel Positioning?
The elevation angle or angle of tilt refers to the vertical angle of a solar panel.
For example, when a panel is parallel to the ground, it has a 0-degree tilt.
If the panel is standing straight up vertically, that would be considered 90 degrees.
This angle in relation to the suns path can affect the amount of power generated and is based on the Current Season and Latitude.
What is the Optimal Tilt for a Solar Panel?
The best tilt option will change based on season and geographical location.
First, lets take a look at the tilt angle in relation to latitude.
As you can see in the below chart, the tilt angle should increase as your latitude increases.
Geographical Impact on Solar Panel Angles:
Calculating the best angle for solar panels is rather simple:
Subtract 15 degrees from your latitude location in summer months.
Add 15 degrees to your latitude during winter months.
Final thoughts on Solar Panel Angles:
For many consumers, adjusting solar panels based on season is not an option or something they are willing to perform.
However, Bi-annual solar panel adjustments can help you produce around 5% more power. While this is not a huge number, it can certainly add up over time and can even increase the lifespan of batteries used in your system.
As a general rule of thumb, be sure to angle your panels towards southern exposure and limit shade coverage as much as possible.
If you are not willing or able to adjust based on the season, install your panels at an angle somewhere in-between 15 30 degrees.
Keep in mind this breakdown of Solar Panel Positioning is extremely basic and designed for the average consumer who has minimal free time. If you intend on relying on solar in an off-grid capacity, then you should perform 4 adjustments each year based on current location. As always, we are just a phone call away (877-548-3387) and are happy to offer our expertise on all of your Solar Educational needs!