According to Mark Roemer Oakland, the efficiency of solar power generation depends on the position of the sun throughout the day. Thus, it’s important to adjust for the positioning of the sun based on the location of the solar panel on earth to get the best results. When you achieve an optimal solar panel tilt (A.K.A. solar panel angle), you can enjoy the maximum performance.
How to find the best solar panel angle based on latitude?
Generally, the angle of your solar panel tilt should be higher the further you are from the equator since the tilt increases with latitude. For instance, the angle of tile should be lower in states such as Hawaii and Arizona where the sun remains higher in the sky.
However, in states such as Oregon and Minnesota where the sun remains lower in the sky, the solar panels should be tilted higher to receive the maximum amount of sunlight.
Here is a reference guide of solar panel angle tilts based on the latitude of the sun:
- Latitude 20-25 degrees – 15 degrees tilt angle
- Latitude 25-30 degrees – About 19 degrees tilt angle
- Latitude 30-35 degrees – About 20 degrees tilt angle
- Latitude 35-40 degrees – About 23 degrees tilt angle
- Latitude 40-45 degrees – About 24 degrees tilt angle
- Latitude 45-50 degrees – About 28 degrees tilt angle
The best solar panel tilt for different seasons
When adjusting the tilt of your solar panels, you also have to consider the different seasons in addition to the latitude since the position of the sun varies according to the different seasons. For instance, the sun remains lower in the sky during the winter months whereas it remains high in the sky during the summer months.
Generally, if you adjust a system that is at 40° latitude twice a year, the energy boost can increase by up to 4.1%. If you can adjust the system four times a year, you can enjoy the best efficiency.
However, since most solar panels are mounted on rooftops at a fixed angle, most of the time it’s not possible or becomes a very complicated task. The alternative is to utilize ground-mounted systems fitted with axis-tracking solar panels. Such a system can drastically improve the energy efficiency and output, but it also suffers from a significant disadvantage — an excessive cost that isn’t worth the investment.
The effect of solar panel performance depends on the type of roof
Generally, the annual output produced by solar panels installed on a shallow roof (15 degrees) and a steep roof (45 degrees) is similar since they balance the output across different seasons. Solar panels on steep roofs capture more sunlight during the winter whereas solar panels on shallow roofs capture more sunlight during the summer.
Mark Roemer Oakland suggests you adjust the angle on a photovoltaic system based on both the latitude and the season in order to get the maximum performance out of it. However, there is nothing to worry about if you don’t have the means to optimize the solar panel angle of the system since the improvement is not that significant.