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It is common knowledge that in the US, rooftop solar panels perform best when they are positioned toward the south. In the Northern Hemisphere, solar panels facing south will provide the most significant amount of electricity. Given that the United States is in the northern hemisphere, it is best for households to install solar panels facing south.
In some circumstances, however, that might not be a choice. You might need to install your solar panels on a different part of your roof if your house is surrounded by trees or if the south side of your house is highly shaded by mountains or other obstructions.
The foundation of solar panels are solar cells. Solar energy is captured and converted into electricity by these cells. This transformation is made possible by the semiconductor material-filled gap that each cell has between a pair of electrodes on either side.
When sunlight hits this material, some energy packets of light knock electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the cell to generate an electric current. Therefore, the only thing a solar panel requires to function is exposure to sunshine.
Throughout the year, the sun regularly rises and sets above the equator. The best way to get the most sunlight if you live north of the equator is to face south toward the equator. The southern half of the sky north of the Tropic of Cancer is traversed by the sun every day of the year. This area covers the majority of America.
You can still benefit from solar energy even if your roof isn't perfectly south-facing for your panels. Several options to think about are listed below:
When placing solar panels facing south is not practical, using a roof with an eastern orientation is a great alternative. It is much more efficient than either west or north, making it the second-best direction. Only 20% less energy is produced by east-facing panels than by a south-facing system in a location with optimal sun conditions. Another benefit is that east-facing rooftops receive light all day long in the winter, from early morning to late afternoon.
There are some setbacks to using this method. Because of morning shade from structures and trees, energy generation is typically reduced when panels are facing east. Also, in the summer, when it is most necessary, there is less sunlight accessible to the system, due to its orientation. Despite being less efficient, facing your system toward the east still produces 80% of what a south-facing roof would, which is a significant amount.
If you’re concerned about where to install your system for optimal results, our DIY Solar Power Experts can answer your questions and provide a site survey and complete design for your home. Our experts have years of industry experience and can guide you through the installation process. Build your system to see a fast quote and get started on your renewable energy project today!
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