According to the Department of Energy, there is now sufficient capacity for solar panels to provide electricity to 18 million houses in the United States. The increase in demand for solar panels can be attributed to their falling prices. Before installing solar panels, there is a great deal of study to be done, including looking into the various solar incentives and rebates that are available. How can you determine whether or not solar energy is suitable for your house?
If you want to install solar panels, one of the first things you need to think about is whether or not your roof is suitable for them and what the optimal tilt for solar panels is in your region. The angle at which your solar panels are installed will be affected by the pitch of your roof. Even though there is a lot of math and physics involved in determining the appropriate tilt, the amount that solar contractors and professionals get guarantees that you will obtain the most solar power for your money.
What about roof tilt angle?
The slope of your roof can be thought of as simply the angle at which it tilts. It is one of the primary factors that will be considered while planning the installation of your solar panels. This is due to the fact that the sun does not always shine directly overhead; on occasion, it will make an oblique impact on the Earth. Additionally, the angle at which the sun strikes your roof will be more perpendicular the closer your location is to the equator. The seasonal change is also another factor to consider. The path that the Earth takes around the sun is more like an ellipse than a complete circle. Consequently, the orientation of the sun’s rays with respect to the Earth shifts throughout the course of a year.
The optimal tilt or roof pitch for solar systems optimizes angles to ensure that the maximum amount of sunlight is received given the location of the system and the orientation of the roof. However, not all houses have their roofs sloping in a particular direction. After all, some buildings have flat roofs. However, this does not always rule out the possibility of installing solar panels on your home. Panels can be mounted by installers in such a way that they achieve a variety of angles and tilts. You have many options available to you, and one of them is to choose an adjustable mounting system that can be changed seasonally to account for the movement of the Earth around the sun. This would provide you the most flexibility.
Fixed vs Adjustable solar panels?
One of the ways in which different models of solar panels differ is the method in which they are positioned on your roof; more specifically, are they adjustable or are they fixed?
Fixed panels, as their name suggests, do not move at any moment and remain in one place at all times. Because of this, determining their ideal tilt angle is vitally necessary to maximize their total production. You should be able to get assistance with this from the company that installed your solar panels, but you may also perform some preliminary calculations on your own . Homeowners consistently select fixed panels as their preferred option in overwhelming numbers.
On the other hand, if you are serious about solar energy and want to get the most out of your solar panels, an adjustable mounting system might be the better option for your house. The angle of the panel can be adjusted whenever you choose thanks to these mounts; nevertheless, the majority of homeowners opt to do it on a seasonal basis, anywhere from two to four times per year. If this adjustment is done properly, movable panels have the potential to capture about 76% of the available solar energy. This estimation is based on the assumption that there are no impediments in the way, like trees or other buildings (in comparison, fixed panels only get around 71%). This may seem like an insignificant difference, but over time, it will add up.
If you are prepared to take on the effort of adjusting panels twice a year, you will not only be able to better protect your panels from production dips caused by snow covered, but you will also be able to do so with more ease. Simply angling your panels at a steeper angle will allow you to remove snow from them more quickly.
Direction at which your solar panels should face
You may have read that the tilt of the solar panels, also known as the pitch, is critical to the effectiveness of the system. The orientation of the front of your house is also an essential consideration. It is essential, if you want to get the most energy out of your solar panels, that you face them in the direction that gets the most direct sunshine.
Solar panels produce the most energy when they are pointed in the direction of true south in the northern hemisphere, which is where the United States is located. Instead of being determined by the location of the Earth’s geographic latitude, the directions that are displayed on a compass are rather determined by the orientation of the magnetic field lines that surround the planet. Therefore, facing true South will provide you with a more accurate estimation of the solar potential of your location.
If you are unable to position your panels so that they face true south, you will need to make an adjustment. Of course, due to the location of your home or the design of your roof, that may not always be possible. In this scenario, you will need to rely on an assessment that was performed by a solar expert.
What should you do if the trees and buildings that surround your home prevent enough sunlight from reaching the southern side of your roof? You still have a choice in the matter. Your solar panels can still harvest a respectable amount of usable energy even if they are only exposed to the sun from the east in the morning and the west in the afternoon. In the event that this is the situation, you should be aware that the solar panels you install could not generate the total amount of wattage that they advertise they will.
However, you will still see a large reduction in the amount of energy that you use from the power grid in your area, which will result in a decrease in the amount of money you spend on your monthly electricity bill.
Calculating the optimal tilt
There are some guidelines that you can use to help you figure it out ahead of time. The assistance of an energy professional who is able to take into account the specifics of your home is the best way to determine the optimal angle for the solar panels that will be installed on your property.
You may get a basic idea of the correct angle for your panels by using the following formula: If the latitude of your home falls between 25 and 50 degrees (which it does for every home in the continental United States), multiply that figure by 0.76, and then add 3.1 degrees.
This is a minor step that bears a drastic impact on the efficiency of your solar panels. Considering this would increase your savings and would speed up the return on your investment.