Solar Panels Orientation

solar panels orientation

If you are considering making use of solar technology and have asked yourself the all-important question about what direction should solar panels face before, then you are in luck because today we are going to provide you with as much information about this subject as possible.

It is crucial that you consider this thought process before making a final purchase decision on any solar technology because it is ultimately going to determine whether or not you can make use of this technology and to what extent it will be useful. Do not waste any of your hard-earned money. Read on for everything you need to know about solar panel placement and the direct impact it can have on the efficiency (or lack thereof) of your entire solar array.

Why Does It Matter Which Direction Solar Panels Are Placed?

The reason why we are discussing the best orientation for solar panels is that this is a massively important element to consider if we want to ensure that the solar technology you have purchased is actually capable of operating at maximum efficiency. This is important due to the manner in which solar panels function. They rely on direct exposure to the sun in order to be able to provide us with constantly renewable zero-emission energy to power a residence or place of work.

When exposed to the sun, the silicon cells contained in the centre of every panel are able to directly absorb the photon rays coming from the sun’s core before breaking them down and using the ensuing electrical charge to provide us with a direct energy resource.

The problem with this is that unlike grid power, it relies on your panels being placed in a position where they can actually gain access to photon rays. Depending on where you live in the world and the weather conditions you encounter, this can make effective solar panels orientation a difficult task.

The first point to consider is the amount of usable daylight hours that you get per day in your location as this is going to determine the total output capacity of the combined efforts of your solar array. The next area to look at is the available space in your residence or workplace and whether or not this space is actually going to provide your panels with maximum sun exposure. Once you have considered these two elements, it is then all about general weather conditions.

Is it mostly cloudy where you are or mostly clear? Roughly how many days per week on average are you likely to encounter bad weather, and based on your panels’ location, what is the exact amount of sunlight you will be able to access under these conditions?

When you have answered all of these questions and compared your likely solar output capacity against the electrical load (another term for your general electrical requirements) of the items and location you wish to power, you have a viable starting point for making an effective purchase decision.

If your panel cannot be placed in a maximally exposed position in conjunction with you experiencing bad weather and low daylight hours more regularly than not, then the simple truth is that solar technology probably is not going to be ideal for you.

Which Direction Will Maximise the Effect of Your Solar Panels?

It is all well and good telling you that you have to get the placement of your panels right, but if we do not tell you the best direction to face solar panels in, then it is all going to be for nothing. By the time you have read to the end of this section, you will no longer have any doubts.

As you are already aware, your panels must face the sun throughout the day in order for them to be able to function in any capacity. If they do not face the sun, then they cannot absorb photon rays. If they cannot access photon rays, then they simply cannot do what they need to do.

The issue here is that maximum sun exposure placement will clearly be different depending on where you live in the world. As a general rule of thumb, if you are living in a northern area, then your panels need to face due south. If you live in the south, then your panels need to face due north. The degree of axis tilt will vary slightly too the closer or further you are away from the equator. As an example, a 30-degree upwards tilt is used in California.

The placement and tilt will dictate precisely how much exposure you are able to access. It is worth noting that your solar installation providers should know precisely what degree of tilt and the best location to place your panels. They should also be armed with efficiency potential figures.

Do not make a purchase until you have been provided with this information or discovered it yourself via extensive research. It is important to be aware too that you can use advanced technology like tracking mounts. These can help to counteract a need for ideal placement by following the sun’s path throughout the day when solar panel orientation may not be ideal otherwise.

Why a Southward Orientation Is the Best for Solar Panels

As we have already discussed, the reason why you will so frequently hear people saying that panels need to be facing south is typically that this is the most optimal solar panel direction based on where the majority of users of this technology live.

This position simply allows your solar cells to soak up the sun in the most direct fashion possible, which means that you have then got access to more usable energy throughout the day as a result. It is true that your panels can be placed slightly away from directly south and still be efficient, but the general efficiency will definitely be reduced.

Just remember that north-facing panels are going to be appropriate for those who live in southern areas of the world. If you find yourself in this position, then try to ignore any advice stating that south is best because the direction is entirely dependent on your location!

Provided you get your solar panels placement right, then you are going to be in the best position to be able to put them to maximum effect and achieve the highest degree of solar output possible when compared to your electrical load requirements.


Although you may have heard that all solar panels need to be south-facing in the past, you might not have had much if any understanding of why this is the case. We are hoping that after reading through today’s post, you are now precisely aware of the reasons why.

Solar technology is truly amazing and provides what is becoming one of the most popular energy sources on the planet thanks to its zero emissions and constantly renewable nature. One of the setbacks is of course sun access depending on your location, but with research, this does not have to be an issue. Provided you have absorbed all of the above information and you have done your calculations, then going solar is likely to be an excellent decision for you.

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