Installing solar panels is a great way to save money on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Before installing a solar panel system, most people consider the roof's dimensions, material, and location.
But alongside these vital factors, the solar panel's orientation and angle hold significant importance in maximising energy production.
We've made a simple guide to help you figure out the best angle for your solar panels based on your latitude and the path of the sun.
How to Determine the Ideal Solar Panel Angle
The best solar panel angle differs for each geographical location and time of the year.
Your main goal is to orient the solar panel to face the sunlight directly. As the sun moves high and low throughout the day, there is no ideal solar panel angle.
The optimal solar panel angle is based on the latitude of your location. So, do a quick Google search and find your home's latitude.
Still, the angle of the solar panels will change throughout the year because the sun moves in different ways.
In general, solar panels should be more vertical in the winter season. During the cooler months, add 15 degrees to your latitude to figure out the best vertical tilt.
For example, if your location's latitude is 51°, adding 15° gives you 66°, which is the best angle for solar panels in the winter.
On the other hand, you can find the best angle for your solar panels by taking 15 away from the latitude. So, for 51° latitude, the best solar panel tilt angle will be 36°.
Most of the time, between 30° and 45° is the best angle for installing solar panels in the UK. This optimal angle offers the maximum sun exposure on the solar power system, offering a significant energy boost.
Solar Panel Orientation
Another essential thing to consider when installing panels is their direction. Generally, the south-facing solar panel direction results in the maximum output for most homeowners in the UK. Geographically, the United Kingdom falls in the Northern Hemisphere.
Countries in the Northern Hemisphere are located north of the equator, and this region will get maximum sunlight exposure when facing south. Therefore, south-facing is the best way to improve the UK's solar panel output. Similarly, the solar panel should be facing north if you live in a country in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia.
What Factors Affect the Solar Panel Angle
The following are the most crucial factors affecting optimal solar panel angle:
Every place has a different roof direction. Before installing a solar system, it is important to measure the roof slope and the roof direction in terms of the sunlight, also known as the sun's angle of incidence. For example, solar panel installation on roofs with a low pitch is more difficult than installing them on flat roofs.
You may require a specialised racking system for proper installation on low-angled roofs. In the same way, a standard racking system won't let you get the best angle on a steep roof, so you may have to lay the solar panels flat on the steep roof.
Time of the Year
The sun's movements and positions change at different times of the year. In winter, the sun's position is lower relative to the horizon in the Northern Hemisphere. To get the most energy out of the solar panels, they need to be set up at a steeper angle than the location's latitude (around 60°).
At this steep angle, the solar panels will counteract winter production dips. Additionally, a more vertical angle will let all the snow slide down. Adjusting the tilt angle for the winter season in the middle of September is preferable. For summers, you can adjust the solar angle and orientation in mid-March.
Geographical Location or Latitude
The best way to get sunlight on your solar panels is to angle them at the same angle as your location's latitude. This angle ranges from 30° to 45° for UK residents.
The solar panel system has revolutionised energy production worldwide. This eco-friendly system helps decrease electricity bills, and more people are deciding to install solar panels. However, installing solar panels (photovoltaic panels) at the most suitable vertical tilt to maximise solar power production is crucial.
Correct solar panel tilt and direction offer maximum sun exposure to the solar panels, improving energy production. We hope knowing the best angle for your solar panels will help you save your hard-earned money.
Click here to view our range of Solar panel offers at Hafod Renewables.