Orientation, Panels, Solar -

East & West is Best!? Solar Panel Orientation


The general notion is that North-facing solar panels (in the Southern Hemisphere) is the most effective way of mounting solar panels. Have you ever considered mounting your panels East & West?

Solar panel orientation East West Which is Best?

Source: solarquotes.com.au


Roof orientation

The direction of your panels in relation to the sun, also referred to as the Azimuth angle, is important for the amount of sunshine that your solar panels will receive over the course of the day.


The best way to determine the direction that your roof faces is to use Google Maps. Look up your property on the satellite image and determine the direction of your roof.


North facing

As you know the sun moves between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn throughout the seasons. As the Tropic of Capricorn is North of South Africa (well, for the most part of it), the sun will always be North of us.


Solar panel orientation East West Which is Best?

Picture: Tropic of Capricorn, source: Wikipedia


This means that the general idea for positioning panels is when you face your panels to the North, you will receive the most sunshine.


The Sun’s movements in a day

The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. So that means in the mornings you will have more sunlight from the East, and in the afternoon you will have more sunlight from the West.


Energy usage

When your household is out for most of the day, and don’t use a lot of energy during the day, East-West might be an option. You will have solar yield in the morning when you use energy for your lights, hot water, breakfast etcetera, and when you come back in the evening you will use lights, TV etc.


The East facing panels will make sure your battery will be fuller earlier in the morning, and the West facing panels will make sure you battery is full when you come home. So your panels will generate more electricity when there is a high demand.


Over a whole day, solar panels that are oriented directly East or directly West will only produce roughly 10 percent less electricity than if they were facing due North. However, considering what has been said before, this might be a better option for you.


Ground / flat roof mounting

East-West orientation of the panels when they are ground-mounted or on a flat roof, means that shallower angles can be used (e.g. 5–10°). Shallower panels means more panels can be mounted in a given space, as there are less shading issues between the panels and panels can be mounted closer together. The shallower angle is also cheaper to install, as less mounting material is required.


Electricity tariffs

In the future, if you have to pay more for electricity in the period of high demand, e.g. in the morning or afternoon, it also makes sense to generate more electricity during those peaks, to save costs or to get a better rate once you can sell back to the grid.


Other aspects to consider

      • Make sure there is as little shading as possible on your panels
      • Angle of your panels (25-35° for North-facing)
      • Use different charge controllers for different orientations
      • Mount a similar number of panels East and West


Click here to see SunStore’s Solar PV Panels.

Click here to see SunStore’s Victron MPPT Solar Charge Controllers.


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Source: the world wide web