Which is the Best Angle for Solar Panels
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How to Angle Solar Panels?
Solar panels work by converting the sun's energy into electricity for a home or business. The more of the sun's rays a panel is receiving the more energy it will be able to create. Solar panels are working at their optimum efficiency when the panels are pointed directly at the sun.
However, the sun is a constantly moving object changing its angle in the sky throughout the day and as seasons change. One option is to invest in a solar panel tracker which moves the panels to follow the sun throughout the day, but these can be an expensive option, and the increased energy they create may not offset the purchase price. The other option is to calculate what angle to mount your panels at to receive the maximum amount of sun in a day.
Which is the Best Angle for Solar panels?
The best angle for your solar panels will depend upon your location and when you want you solar panels to be most efficient. For most installations, this will be during the summer months, and your calculations will be based on the location of the sun in the summer. At solar noon, which is exactly halfway between sunrise and sunset, the energy from the sun is at its greatest so the solar panels should be positioned to take advantage of this time.
At solar noon in the UK, the sun is due south, which is why solar panels are installed on south facing walls or roofs. Installers can then use online calculators to calculate what angle the panels should be at to maximise the energy generated at solar noon. It varies across the UK, in London in June it is typically around forty degrees off vertical, but this will be different in other cities. In Manchester, it is more in the region of thirty five degrees.
Solar Irradiance Meters
A more accurate alternative to using an online calculator is to invest in a solar irradiance meter. Solar irradiance is a measure of how much of the sun's energy is hitting the earth at any point. The advantage of solar irradiance meters is they can exactly monitor the levels at your site.
The meters can then also be used to calculate the optimum pitch for your panels based on measurements taken at your site. Solar irradiance meters are available to buy online for between sixty and three hundred pounds depending on the sophistication of model you require.