Five rules for the perfect solar panel placement
(Will you be getting the best output from your panels?)
In Perth Western Australia we are very fortunate to have lots of sun. In fact, Perth has the best irradiance numbers of any capital city in Australia. This gives us lots of options when it comes to solar panel placement. Most good quality solar companies will place a lot of emphasis on panel placement. Of course, in some instances we have little choice because of roof construction space and shading issues. However in most cases, the solar installer and home owner do have choices where to install panels. This can not only be based on the direction of the sun, but also your lifestyle factors can be incorporated, so you get the best bang for your buck. Lets explain..
Rule #1 – Shading
Panels in full sun will perform the best, this seems obvious. So make sure you avoid as much shading as possible. Shading effects power production. Even dappled shade or antenna shade will affect the performance of the panels. When solar panels are on string inverters without optimisers even one shaded panel will affect the performance of the entire string of panels. If you are unsure what optimisers are, these help each panel to function independently and this can be an advantage when some panels are shaded when others aren’t.
Rule #2 – Timing – when is the best time for YOU to use the solar power produced?
Good solar companies will take more of a collaborative approach when it comes to panel placement. Sometimes all north facing panels is not always the best course of action. A good solar company will consult with their clients and ask about when they use most of their power. Is it during the middle of the day? In the morning or afternoon? What’s the difference in power consumption during summer and winter? This information is all taken into consideration when deciding on the best place to install the panels. Careful consideration should be taken to ensure each system is tailored to the customer’s power usage needs and designed with them personally in mind.
Rule #3 – North facing systems – Is north always best?
North facing systems will have the highest yield, panels facing north in Perth at a 25deg pitch will average around 4.5kWh/Units of power per kW of Solar Panels. North facing panels at this pitch are good if you have a battery or want good winter yields. However north facing panels won’t give you early morning or late afternoon power. If your panels are shaded in a north facing position also, this may not the best option for your home.
Rule #4 – East or West facing panels – Which way yields better?
Of course, panels facing east will give you early morning power and panels facing west will make power to late in the afternoon. This is often a good option for working families that aren’t home during the day. Panels facing east and west also work well in summer spreading the power production across the entire day. The down side is east and west facing panels don’t produce well in winter. East and west facing panels are good if you have gas heating and don’t use much power in winter. Overall east and west facing panels will yield 15% less than north facing panels. However, if you are more likely to use this power in the morning and late afternoon this is better than sending it back to the grid.
Rule #5 – Get a design that works for your usage and home
A good solar company will take all the above information into consideration and come up with a design that will tick all the boxes. It’s often a combination of east, west and north. They should take the time to think over which solar strategy works best for you. Perhaps for you, that’s a string configuration with optimisers or micro inverters which will deliver the highest power yield. Or maybe you are home during the day and have good roof space to have all panels facing North, that will work the best for you. The point being there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ strategy when it comes to solar. You need to make sure you find a solar company that will deliver the best option for the individual client and their personal circumstances every time.
Remember a well-designed Solar PV system will serve you well into the future and save you thousands. Be careful and wary when looking at ‘special deals’, cheap products or super fast installs from budget solar companies. There’s many, many out there.
A reputable business should check:
- Shading – is there anything obstructing the sun getting to the panels all day long?
- When do you use your power? During the middle of the day? Or do you work during the day and you use your power more during the morning or night?
- Seasonal considerations – positioning panels to still perform well in winter as well as summer.
- Position – north, south, east or west? North have the highest yield but it also depends on when you use your power or if there’s shading in a north position. If it’s in the morning or evening then an east or west panel placement may suit your lifestyle better.
- Get the best individual design that works for you. Make sure your solar panel company factors all of the above into their decision making process. The point of solar is to not only reduce energy costs but to have a fast return on your investment. Let’s have the solar power system paid off as fast as possible. Efficient and well thought out design can accomplish just that.
Clean NRG Solar have a team of dedicated designers ensuring that your solar power system will be performing at its best all year around. We tailor make each system for each client. Our after care support and system monitoring is also here for you ensuring you don’t lose any time for your system to produce power.
Still have questions about solar panels in Perth and what that means for your home? Why not give us a contact us on 9244 9200 and we can work through a plan just for you. Or better yet come and drop by our show room in Osborne Park.