The concept of installing solar panels on your home seems basic in theory – you hire a solar company to place them on your roof and you are good to go. But, when that concept is expanded to real-world applications, there are more technical factors that go into the installation like roof angle, direction, etc. This often begs the question as to what direction should your solar panels face? While each install is unique, your solar installer will be able to determine the best angle and direction based on your home but the general rule of thumb is directing them true south. Also, it’s typical for panels to have an angle between 10 to 30 degrees, but it depends on how north or south you are in the US.
True South Placement
Since the United States is located in the Northern Hemisphere, the best direction for your solar panels is true south because they will receive the most sunlight throughout the day. This also means your solar panels will be harnessing the most power from the sun and that converts into monumental savings on your energy bill! At any rate, houses can face literally any direction and the angle of the roof can sometimes make it harder to position the solar panels in the prime direction. Nevertheless, the angle or direction of the roof on your home doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the solar panels and you can trust the solar installer to find the optimal position.
To determine the placement of your panels, you might be inclined to grab a compass and head out the front door to see where the compass points. However, using a magnetic compass doesn’t give you the true south direction. While it can give you an idea of where south is, a compass will point towards the South Pole because of the geomagnetic field – it’s point is in the right direction but isn’t exact. This means the compass direction may vary based on your specific location! So, keep that in mind if you are trying to imagine where your solar panels will be installed.
If your roof faces east and west rather than north and south, don’t worry because they can still harness the energy from the sun. While a roof setup that is east-west won’t take in as much sunlight as the latter, your solar installer will be able to determine which direction would be more beneficial. Additionally, some homeowners opt to have the solar panels installed in their yard if they have the space to accommodate a system. Mounting them on the ground does make it easier for homeowners to clean them off as needed, but then again, objects that cast shade like trees or neighboring houses could impact the potential of solar gains. Or, if you have a large shed or garage on your property, you may be able to have solar panels installed on the roof of those structures.
At any rate, a solar installation professional will be able to determine the best spot for the panel placement and angle. Once you have your system installed, you can reap the rewards of solar energy!