This is without doubt the most important question you need to ask yourself – especially if you are installing PV solar panels on your roof yourself – but it is also an important question to bear in mind and have clarified if you are hiring a firm to do the installing for you.
Why is it important?
The simple answer is – your PV solar panels need to be angled correctly towards the sun to get the optimum performance from the panels so they can generate the most energy for your home (or business premises). If your panels are not angled correctly, you will not get the most out of them and your investment will therefore be a waste.
It may seem obvious, but it is also worth bearing in mind that the United Kingdom receives the most sunshine during the summer months in which case your solar panels need to be in the best position possible so they can make the most of these months.
According to the Met Office the UK is blessed with up to 200 hours of sunshine per month on average from May to August with considerably less between November and February when the amount of sunshine is about a quarter of that received in the summer.
Even though solar panels do still generate power from the sun on cloudy days, with less sunlight available during the winter months the amount of sunshine that can be converted is subsequently lessened as a result of shorter daylight hours.
The Northern Hemisphere Aspect
Basically, the UK is in the Northern Hemisphere thereby solar panels need to be facing south as much as possible to make the most of the daylight hours and the panels need to be tilted (angled) in such a way as to capture the best of the sun’s rays when the sun is at its most powerful.
In the UK the best angle to position solar panels is between 30 degrees and 45 degrees although there will be regional variations depending on where you live and how much to the south your house is facing, and whether your property is subject to “shading” from trees, other buildings when the sun is at its lowest.
A Variety Of Angles
The good thing about solar panels is they can be manually adjusted once installed. So if you are diligent and dedicated you can adjust the angle of your panels through the year to best capture the sun’s energy as the seasons change.
Alternatively, you can buy “tracking” solar panels that do exactly that; track the sun as it moves across the skyline. However, these are a lot more expensive to install and also paradoxically use power to enable them to move (which is power that would otherwise be going into your property).
The angle you set your solar panels is a vital consideration if you are hoping to harness the most energy from the sun and enjoy cheaper electricity for your home or business, and even make money from the sun’s rays.