Which Direction Should Solar Panels Face?

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Several factors such as your geographic location and local climate can affect the efficiency of your solar power system; however, the direction that your home or business is facing isn’t necessarily one of them.  That’s because solar panels can be positioned in optimized directions to maximize their efficiency. Here are some tips for angling your solar panels so that they are generating the most amount of energy possible for your property and getting you the biggest bang for your buck.

Where to Place Your Panels

While solar panels are able to convert both direct and indirect sunlight into electricity, they should obviously be placed and positioned where they’ll receive the most sunlight throughout the day. To generate the maximum amount of power, your panels should:

  • remain free of obstruction
  • not rest in the shade of looming trees or structures
  • face “true south”

What Is “True South?”

To understand true south, you’ll need to first understand that the Earth is a giant magnet that rotates on a tilt around its axis. True north and south are aligned with the axis of the Earth. Those who live in Earth’s northern hemisphere need to aim their panels at true south, not the South Pole, to get the most out of their solar panel systems.

Determining Your True South

True south can be located when the sun is at its highest point. Generally occurring at 12 p.m., this time of day is also known as “solar noon.” During this time, you can find true south using a few scientific and clever methods.

  • By compass

    True south is aligned with the Earth’s axis, not its magnetic poles. Because of its tilted rotation, the Earth’s polarity will direct a compass to point toward a magnetic North or South Pole that is several degrees off from its axis. So, unfortunately, a compass will be of no help in determining true south unless you know your magnetic declination.

  • Magnetic declination

    The most accurate way to determine true south in relation to your home or business is to learn the magnetic declination of your location. Traditionally, you’d need to know your latitude and longitude and use a compass to calculate true south. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a handy website to do it for you.

  • Find your shadow

    A clever way to quickly calculate true south is by observing which direction your shadow points exactly at solar noon. If it’s a cloudy day, you may have trouble locating true south; however, your professional solar power installer should be able to locate it for you.

Professional Electrical Services from PES Solar

At PES Solar, Maitland FL we know how to expertly position your panels to generate you the most money-saving energy. We also provide zero-down financing on conventional residential solar panel installations. Save money, time, and energy by going solar with PES Solar.

Austin Miller

Austin Miller

With over two decades of experience in the solar and electrical contracting industry, Austin Miller brings a wealth of expertise to the table. As the proprietor of PES Solar, his profound understanding of solar energy and its cost-saving potential is unmatched. Austin's unwavering passion for the solar sector drives his mission to help businesses and homeowners maximize their savings while embracing renewable energy solutions.