How Does the Direction Your Solar Panels Face Affect Performance?

November 30, 2018

Everyone needs a little direction in life. Statements like that are often philosophical and refer to things like career paths, academic choices or family decisions. But sometimes the question, “What direction?” has very practical applications. If you’re taking a car trip, you’re going to need a GPS or a map to figure out what direction you’re heading. When you book a hotel, you might want a room facing in a particular direction to bring in or keep out sunlight. GreenLeaf Solar also wants you to know that the direction of sunlight has an obvious impact on solar panels and the question of knowing which direction your panels should face is a question we often hear.

GreenLeaf is Long Island’s Leader in Solar Panels

GreenLeaf Solar has long been Long Island’s leading solar panel company. We now serve commercial, industrial, and municipal accounts throughout the northeast in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, and Maryland. We also serve residential customers here on Long Island and we show all of our customers how they can save money switching to solar power while reducing their carbon footprint. We can also make your home or business more energy efficient, so we want to tell you how the direction of your panels affects your energy consumption.

Differing Opinions on the Solar Panel Direction

There are actually differing opinions on what direction solar panels should face. The consensus among most experts is that the best direction for solar panels is to face south.

According to the New York Times, south facing solar panels capture the most solar energy over the course of the day. But the same Times article also makes the case for using solar panels that face west. They cite a California study, which showed that most devices do point south because doing so captures the most solar power over the course of the day. But the study claims that pointing solar panels west maximizes production during peak usage hours in the late afternoon when homeowners are more likely to keep lights on, run TVs and dishwashers.

But there has been pushback on this study and a rebuttal was published by Scientific American. They said that the California survey doesn’t take into account all areas of the country, so the author of the Scientific American article studied 1,000 U.S. locations throughout America. They also point out that energy output changes at different times of the year. For example, an analysis of the Texas electrical grid showed that panels facing west produced 14 percent less energy than south-facing panels, but in the summer months the west facing panels were producing only 1 percent less energy.

GreenLeaf Will Install Panels That Make Sense for You

The bottom line is that several factors will go into how GreenLeaf will install your solar panels. The size and orientation of your roof will play a major role as well. South facing roofs usually will yield the best results, but customers have success with east and west facing roofs as well. We do discourage placing solar panels on roofs that face north or northeast. Let the experts at GreenLeaf determine the panels that are right for you. Contact us today.