The most spontaneous answer to this question would be – facing south. Deciding the placement of solar panels is not at all straightforward. A lot of factors go into determining where and how to place them.

The direction in which you place the solar panels affects how much energy they produce. If your home is located in the northern hemisphere, having the solar panels facing south makes the most sense. This placement ensures that the panels receive maximum sunlight.

Continue reading to learn which direction is feasible for placing your solar panels.

Key Takeaways

  • South-facing solar panels are the most effective direction for maximum energy production, especially in the northern hemisphere, as they receive the most sunlight.
  • The suitability of your roof, including its orientation, shade, pitch, condition, materials, size, and any potential obstacles, plays a crucial role in determining the feasibility of solar panel installation.
  • East-west facing panels or west-facing panels may be considered in specific situations, but south-facing panels are generally the best choice for optimal energy generation.

Is Your Roof Suitable for Solar Panels?

The first step is determining if your roof is suitable and ideal for a solar panel installation. Here’s what you need to consider for roof solar panel installation.

Roof Orientation

If yours is a south-facing roof, it is ideal for generating electricity at the best capacity. This solar panel system receives the sun from the best angle and when it is at its peak. However, for east-west facing roofs, there are still many scopes to generate electricity throughout the day.

Generally, a north-facing roof is not ideal for capturing solar power. Most solar companies recommend against north-facing solar panel orientation.

Home Solar Panels

Roof Shade

A solar PV system can generate energy even if placed in the shade. Although, the quantity of energy produced will be reduced. Trees, neighbouring buildings, and electricity lines can add to shade.

If your roof has a lot of shadows cast on it, it might be a good idea to consider alternate solar options. It is best to get the advice of a solar installer to determine if an alternate solar power solution is required.

Roof Pitch

The presence or lack of slope of the roof affects solar production. Ordinarily, the roof pitch angle is usually between 30 and 40 degrees. If the PV system falls out of this range, it can still generate some power.

While flat solar panels can generate power, in some cases, the installer might recommend installing the panels at an angle.

The goal is to find the optimal angle to incline the solar panels to generate maximum output. The ideal angle is when the sun’s rays hit the panels perpendicularly because it generates more electricity.

Roof Condition

Before installing solar panels, a thorough check of the roof is required. If there is any damage or any holes present, it will all have to be fixed first. Solar panel systems are generally heavy, so ensure that the roof can carry its load.

Moreover, since solar panels are a significant investment in money and time, it is necessary to ensure that the roof is in the best condition.

Solar PV Panels

Roof Materials

Usually, glass roofs and thatched roofs are unsuitable for installing a PV system. The former cannot bear the load, and the latter carries a potential fire hazard.

Therefore, the roof material affects the installation costs and determines whether the roof can bear the load of solar panels.

Roof Size

A solar panel installation requires a clean roof space. The size of your solar PV system depends upon the roof size. Typically, a minimum of 4 panels are installed at a time. Otherwise, how many panels you install depends entirely on the roof size.

Roofs with skylights and roof vents may also obstruct the space for installing solar PV panels.

Any limitations or obstacles should be taken care of during the installation.

Roof Availability

Installation of PV systems does not require planning permission for domestic purposes. However, there are a few exceptions. You need planning permission if you have a flat roof or live in a listed building or a conserved area.

Solar Panels on Roof

East-West V/S South Solar Placement

Let us first understand the sun’s movement in the sky to determine the direction of solar panels. The sun moves across the southern sky since we are in the northern hemisphere. Consequently, south-facing panels are exposed to maximum sunlight.

Shifting the angle slightly and placing the panels facing south-west or southeast can reduce energy production.

The roof orientation has an impact on solar panel production. To determine the solar ROI (Return on Investment), the cost of electricity has a more significant role than how much power the solar system can produce.

When considering east-west placement, you have three options for installing panels:

  • On an east-facing roof
  • On a west-facing roof
  • Divide the solar array into two and let each half face east and west.

In the first option, the panels will receive sunlight during the first half of the day but will be in the shade for the rest. Similarly, for the second option, the panels will be in the shade for the first half but exposed to direct sunlight in the second half of the day. Finally, in the third option, half the panels will be in the shade, and the other half will receive sunlight for half the day and vice versa.

If you opt for any of the three east-west facing panels, you will require an additional optimising device to offset the effects of shade. While these devices improve energy production, they also significantly increase expenditure.

Roof Solar Panels

West Facing Solar Panels

West-facing panels are the best option if the utility company charges you based on a TOU or time-of-use structure. On the other hand, if they charge a standard rate, south-facing solar panels are the best option. It can help save on energy bills since you can rely on solar energy when the rates are high.

The Best Solar Panel Direction

We can safely conclude that the south-facing panels are the best direction. Here’s why:

  • Most power is produced when the panels in the northern hemisphere are south-facing. This is because the sun shines directly over the equator. So, a south-facing solar panel can generate more electricity.
  • You can generate surplus energy and store energy with a battery storage system.

Discover the Power of Solar with Solar Panels Network

Are you navigating the world of solar installations? Look no further than Solar Panels Network, the UK’s trusted partner in harnessing the sun’s potential. Our dedication goes beyond just installations; we’re on a mission to transform how homeowners and businesses across the UK perceive and utilise energy. By choosing us, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and making a smart financial move that promises savings for years ahead. Contact us today and embark on your solar journey.

Wrapping Up

South-facing solar panels produce maximum energy, especially in the northern hemisphere. Most homes have their solar PV system facing south since it produces the most energy. Additionally, south-facing panels receive sunlight for longer hours than those facing any other direction.

However, if south-facing solar panel orientation is not possible, it is not the end for your renewable energy goals. You can try adding more solar panels to generate more power.

Also, installing solar panels is significantly less and easily affordable; now that’s something to consider in good mind, right?

About the Author

Solar Panels Network stands at the forefront of solar energy solutions, driven by a team of seasoned solar engineers and energy consultants. With over decades of experience in delivering high-quality solar installations and maintenance, we are committed to promoting sustainable energy through customer-centric, tailored solutions. Our articles reflect this commitment, crafted collaboratively by experts to provide accurate, up-to-date insights into solar technology, ensuring our readers are well-informed and empowered in their solar energy decisions.