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    Solar Panel Orientation and Tilt

    So we can see that as well as moving across the sky (solar azimuth), the sun also moves up and down (solar zenith) throughout the year making it difficult to provide a fixed solar panel orientation. Then for maximum conversion of sunlight into solar electricity, solar panels need to be mounted at an angle for them to point directly at the sun. Depending upon how the panel is mounted, it may be kept at a permanent angle, or adjusted throughout the year to take full advantage of the suns solar energy. Adjustment of a static mounted photovoltaic solar system can result in 10% to 40% more power output yearly making a considerable difference to the charging time for batteries.

    Solar Panel Orientation

    Solar Panel Orientation refers to our azimuth setting. Most of the energy coming from the sun arrives in straight line. A solar panel or solar array will capture more energy if it is facing directly at the sun, perpendicular to the straight line between the position of the panels installation and the sun.

    众鑫彩票注册Solar Panel Azimuth Orientation

    Then we need to have the solar panel turned towards the terrestrial equator (either facing south in the northern hemisphere, or north in the southern hemisphere) so that during the day its orientation allows the panel to catch the greatest possible amount of solar radiation possible.

    There are different ways of achieving the required solar panel orientation. We could just point the PV panel or array due south or north using a compass, find the central angle between the summer and winter azimuth settings or more accurately position the panels relative to the central solar noon.

    The solar noon refers to the highest position of the sun as it arcs across the sky and is different to 12:00 o’clock noon or midday as a measurement of time. Generally the solar noon occurs between 12:00 o’clock and 14:00 o’clock depending upon the location.

    It is very important when positioning and aligning a solar panel or array that no part of a solar panel or solar array are ever shaded from the sun as we need 100% solar radiation across the panel. Check that the elements that surround the panel or array (trees, buildings, walls, other panels, etc.) to be sure that they will not cast a shadow on the panels at any time of the day or year.

    Solar Panel Tilt

    Solar Panel Tilt refers to our zenith or elevation setting. Once the best azimuth position is found, the next parameter that is key to producing the most solar electricity is the elevation of the PV panel. We saw from our data example above for London, that the maximum height that the sun reaches every day varies, with the maximum angle of the sun on the day of the summer solstice being about 62o and the minimum angle for the winter solstice about 15o.

    众鑫彩票注册Solar Panel Zenith Orientation

    For a fixed solar installation, it is preferred that the PV panels are installed with a centralised tilt angle representing the vernal equinox, or the autumnal equinox, and in our example data above this would be about 38 degrees (38o).

    However, this tilt orientation is not as critical with regards to the solar panels orientation as even at a tilt angle of nearly 45 degrees (45o) with respect to the suns solar rays will still receives more than 75 percent as much energy per unit surface area as it does when it is optimally aligned.

    Then a misalignment of up to 15o either positive or negative makes very little difference to a photovoltaic panels output. Ideally, solar panels should be located where they will receive as much sunlight as possible, averaged out during the course of the day and the course of the year.

    The solar panel orientation and tilt of a fixed solar PV panel or array can also be optimised for a particular month or season during the year. For example, a solar power system might be designed to produce maximum power output only in the winter months in order to reduce peak electricity costs thus, the system should be installed so that the optimum solar panel orientation and tilt occurs for the maximum winter power output.

    One of the most popular fixed solar power systems involves mounting a PV panel, or a set of PV panels, directly onto a steeply pitched roof that faces toward due south (or north) allowing for very little adjustment of both the solar panel orientation and tilt although most mounting brackets and support frames do allow for some small adjustments. Maximising the power output from a 众鑫彩票注册 solar power system is desirable to both increase the solar panels efficiency and reduce the payback time.

    But in order to maximise the power output from the solar panels, we need to keep the panels perfectly aligned with the sun. As such, a means of tracking the sun across the sky is required and a PV panel or PV array with tracking ability will yearly produce about 25 to 30% more power than one mounted on a roof in a fixed position. Also solar tracking can reduce the number of PV panels required by increasing the conversion efficiency.

    Solar Tracker

    众鑫彩票注册Solar Tracker
    Solar Tracker

    Tracking the position of the sun in order to expose a solar panel to maximum radiation at any given time is the main purpose of a solar tracking PV system giving the best solar panel orientation at all times of the day. A solar tracking system can track the movement of the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset creating optimal power output for a longer period and can also accommodate for seasonal changes of the sun direction.

    The ideal solar tracking arrangement for a solar panel would be a motor-driven equatorial mount, similar to those used with sophisticated telescopes or satellite dishes. This would allow the PV panel to follow the suns rotational path all day, every day of the year giving it the best solar panel orientation and generating the maximum possible output power.

    However, such large motorised tracking systems are impractical for most people, and the cost would be prohibitive for large panels or multi panel arrays. Also, solar trackers cannot be used on a roof installation as they need to be mounted on the ground and have sufficient space around the panel in order for it to rotate. The next best thing is a mount with a single bearing that allows for the panel to be manually orientated and tilted throughout the day if required.

    Commercially available solar trackers include single-axis tracking which tracks the sun across the sky during each day at a fixed constant tilt angle. This increases the


  • 17 Comments » for Solar Panel Orientation
    1. Rebecca Gardner Rebecca Gardner says:

      It was interesting when you talked about how solar panel tilt and orientation can be optimized differently during each season of the year. My brother and his wife told me they want to have a solar panel system installed for their 众鑫彩票注册 so they can get off the grid and start doing their part for the environment. I’ll pass along your tips to help them get the most possible value from investing in a solar energy system!

    2. Steve Steve says:

      As a general rule, I have found that year round best average panel zenith is the latitude of where you live when measured from the horizontal plane. For example 56 degrees from Horizontal in parts of the UK. Using the guide in this text, when measuring the angle from vertical, then you would subtract the latitude from 90, in the case of the UK example, this would result in 38 degrees.

      In the northern hemisphere, fixed panels are best situated facing due south, conversely in the southern hemisphere facing due north.

    3. solar permitting solar permitting says:

      For proper site selection of solar plant, you need to take help from engineer which are trained under this field and having professional skills to select site as solar site selection plays a vital role in consuming of power supply.

    4. Ethan lNorth Ethan lNorth says:

      Please check your Solar diodes are do work or not.

    5. Laura Nichols Laura Nichols says:

      Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing

    6. Ajay Verma Ajay Verma says:

      Very informative article, Thank you for assisting us like this. Keep sharing such things and helping us. Your article is really helpful for me and hopes for others too.

    7. Salman Salman says:

      Hello i am Salman from Pakistan, i just want to know that if i have 3 different solar project which are nearly about to equal capacity, and if i get two plants are on its peak power, but one of them is on low than other two, so can anybody help me to tell me some reason why this happen and why my third plant have low power than other two

    8. Patel ankit Patel ankit says:

      Heating perameter set

    9. Aatish V Chavan Aatish V Chavan says:

      Hi,
      I am from Mumbai, India.
      Do you have any ready made charts or stencils for adjusting focal point of mirror faced dish/parabola, over a fixed pan base.?
      I am looking for a ready made table, prepared based on Easting and Northing, which will give me angles, according to which i can adjust my dish with respect to north, taken from compass joined to dish.
      Thanks
      Aatish Chavan

    10. V.KRISHNA RAO V.KRISHNA RAO says:

      Equinox means day and night are equal.Your artcle does defer.Please look and correct

    11. widetrac widetrac says:

      having a hard time with the information when it starts with the sun moving, and continues to state that the sun is moving.

      • Obviously we all know that the Earth revolves around the sun, but from a fixed photovoltaic solar panels point of view here on the Earth, it appears that the sun is moving across the sky which is why the tutorial explains about the need for tracking the sun throughout the day for maximum exposure. Apologies if you found it confusing.

    12. Tom Tom says:

      Dear Sir, Is it not true that in Southern New Jersey, fixed solar panels should be facing South? Also, with fixed solar panels facing South, wouldn’t that give you the best year round exposure to solar radiation?
      In the Northern Hemisphere, in my case Southern New Jersey, wouldn’t fixed solar panels facing West be a bad idea for optimizing the benefits of having sola?

      • Hello Tom, I do not mention Southern New Jersey? In the northern hemisphere you look south, and down to the equator to see the sun. In the southern hemisphere you look north, and up to the equator to see the sun. Then any solar panels should be aligned accordingly for maximum exposure.

        • Tom Tom says:

          Because Southern New Jersey, in fact, ALL of New Jersey is in the Northern Hemisphere, I will take that as a yes, that fixed solar panels should be facing South.
          Thank you for the feed back..

    13. sierra sinn sierra sinn says:

      Hey, thanks for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

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