5.4 gigawatts of solar PV capacity was installed in the United States in Q3 of 2021. More than 1 gigawatt of this total was from residential solar installations, with more than 130,000 solar panel systems installed in these 3 months alone (the remaining refers to large utility-scale solar installations). These statistics highlight the demand for solar panel systems by US homeowners at present.
If you are one of the many homeowners strongly considering installing solar panels on your property, it is important to consider the best location for optimum solar energy creation. While there are different locations suitable for solar panel installation on a property, we will focus on the roof in this blog post.
The short answer here is that south-facing solar panels are the best option for most homeowners in the US. Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case.
South-Facing Solar Panels Are the Way to Go
Installing solar panels on your roof makes sense. It is an unused space on your property and it is typically free of obstruction from trees and other obstructions. Given that the US is located in the northern hemisphere, it is advised that you position your solar panels on the south-facing side of your roof.
Let’s consider south-facing solar panels that result in maximum output. How much output loss will homeowners experience if they install their solar panels in a different direction? Below is the typical output loss:
- North-facing panels: 30%
- East or west-facing panels: 15%
- Southwest or southeast-facing panels: 8%
These are significant reductions in output, especially in the case of north-facing panels as they will be pointed away from the sun.
How Does Direction of Solar Panels Impact Its Output?
There are 3 factors to consider here. The first is the distance from the south, which refers to the number of degrees that solar panels are faced from the south. We have seen this in the above bullet point, where the greater the turn away from the south, the greater the loss in solar energy production.
The second factor is your property’s latitude, which refers to how far north your home is located. For example, properties in Washington that are in non-south alignment will experience a greater loss in solar energy production than properties in Florida that have the same non-south alignment.
Thirdly, it is important to consider the pitch of your roof. For solar panels that are not in south-facing alignment, steeper roofs will increase the output drop.
If you are interested in learning more about residential solar panels, check out Blue Raven Solar.
Best Location for Optimum Solar Energy Creation
The bottom line here is that south-facing is the optimum solar position. It is the most efficient position for your solar panels. We recommend that you speak to a solar panel system installer about the best location for optimum solar energy creation.
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