The Best Place to Install Solar Panels
May 23, 2018
Location, location, location. No, we’re not talking about real estate. A solar panel’s location has everything to do with its efficiency and overall functionality. If you’re considering joining the hundreds of thousands of homeowners who use rooftop solar energy panels, this brief guide can help you determine the best place to install panels so you get the most out of your investment.
How Technology Has Helped Solar Panel Placement
Before delving into location specifics, it’s important to note that solar technology has dramatically improved over the years, meaning homeowners have much more flexibility when choosing where to place their panels.
In the past, solar panels would only provide adequate power when they were facing true south and in regions that receive reliable, year-round sunlight. So, if your home wasn’t facing south, or you lived in a rainy, cloudy climate, it wasn’t recommended you invest in solar panels, as the savings may not have outweighed the cost.
These days, direction and region aren’t nearly as much of a factor. Panels can be placed on the ground or roof and face east or west and still collect substantial amounts of energy – more than enough to save money on monthly electricity bills and reduce overall energy consumption.
California residents don’t need to concern themselves with whether the climate is conducive to solar power – the Golden State was recently ranked number one in the U.S. in terms of overall megawatts of solar capacity produced and homes with solar panels.1
Facing True South on the Roof
It’s recommended solar panels are placed on the roof and face true south for optimal sunlight absorption. True south is slightly different from magnetic south, which is the direction a compass will provide you. You won’t have to do any calculations or worry about finding true south yourself – a solar installer will find the precise direction to point your panels in accordance with your property. The roof is the best place for solar panels because it receives the most uninterrupted sunlight throughout the day.
If your roof doesn’t face south, you’re not out of luck. Some solutions for roofs without a southern face include:
- Adding more or larger panels on the east or west side to compensate
- Mount the panels on racks so they can be pointed in the optimal direction
- Place the panels on a south-facing wall, storage shed or garage
The only no-no is facing the panels north. If that’s your only option on the roof, you will have to consider alternatives.
While the roof is often the go-to place to install solar panels because it sees the most sunlight, your yard can be almost as effective in some cases. For example, if you don’t have a south-facing roof option, panels in your yard can easily be installed to face that direction. In fact, many people find this option more appealing because the panels are easier to reach for cleaning and maintenance.
Whether you decide on your roof or backyard, your panels must also be angled correctly in relation to your property’s latitude. As such, there is no catch-all angle that’s recommended. An installer will determine the exact amount of tilt for your panels. In the simplest terms, the closer you are to the equator, the flatter your tilt, and vice versa.
From there, you will have to decide between fixed or adjustable panels. Since the sun is higher in the summer and lower in the winter, some people opt for adjustable panels so they can collect the most sunlight possible year-round. Fixed panels will require less maintenance and are often cheaper to install.
Start Paying Less for Your Energy by Learning About Solar Power Today
Determining the best panel placement for your property is just the beginning of an exciting process. If you’re ready to make the switch to cost- and energy-efficient solar PV panels, it’s important you work with residential solar experts to ensure yours are installed and calibrated correctly and in the ideal spot. Energy Saving Pros provides expert installation throughout the Sacramento area. Call 866-497-6527 or fill out our online form to receive a FREE quote today.