What is the best position for your solar panels?

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There’s plenty that goes into the decision to get solar panels on your roof. There’s choosing the brand, the type of panels, how many you need, the installer you use, and if they’re even worth it in the long run. But after you’ve done the hard yards looking into all of your options, you’ll have one more crucial factor to consider – the positioning of your solar panels.

Obviously, the sun doesn’t stay in the one spot, meaning you’ll have to ensure that if you do get solar panels installed that they get the most out of their time in the sun. But how can you do that? Find out what the best position, direction and angle is for your solar panels with this Canstar Blue guide.


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Which direction is the best for solar panels?

House with solar panels on roof

While dependent on a number of factors, north is generally considered the best direction to face your solar panels in Australia (and the rest of the southern hemisphere). This is because its exposure to the middle hours of the day is greater in this direction.

However, facing your panels true north won’t always be the best option, as location, latitude and terrain also factors into the ideal solar panel position, along with other variables such as:

  • Shading: Nearby trees or buildings could be casting shade onto your roof during a certain time of day, negating any solar panels you may have there.
  • Cloud cover: Areas that usually experience overcast mornings may find westward facing solar panels more effective.

If you’re looking to install solar panels on your roof, chances are you won’t have much choice on the direction, as you’ll have to conform to the current structure and design of your roof. But if you’re building or renovating and thinking about getting some solar panels down the line, it might be worth factoring these things in.

What angle should my solar panels be at?

Men installing solar panels on roof

The angle at which your solar panels are installed will impact on how much sunlight they capture. However, the time of year, time of day, roof slant and even latitude will play a big role when choosing which angle you should install at.

As a general rule of thumb, solar panels should be installed at an angle that is similar to your latitude, with the idea being that this allows for the most effective angle as the sun moves throughout the day. For example, Sydney has a latitude of around 34 degrees, meaning that it’s recommended that the solar panels be installed at a 34 degree angle towards the sun for maximum effectiveness.

  • Like the positioning, the angle at which you can install your solar panels is also dependent on the slant of your roof.

Compare Solar Energy Plans

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Should solar panels on flat roofs be tilted?

With the general recommendation to ensure your solar panels are angled and positioned to effectively capture sunlight, should you be doing the same for solar panels on horizontal roofs? The short answer is yes, but it may not be necessary in every case, as those who live closer to the equator – such as those in the top end of Australia – may find it more beneficial to have little to no tilt on their solar panels. Those with limited roof space may also potentially be restricted with how they install their panels.

However, if you don’t fall into the above categories, installing your solar panels at an angle similar to your latitude may help you increase your solar output, although your installer should be able to help you find the best angle for your panels.

  • Solar panels are generally installed with a slight tilt to help with rainwater runoff, meaning you’ll rarely ever see a completely horizontal solar panel.

Is it worth investing in a solar tracker?

Solar trackers are a device that attach to your solar panels, allowing them to track the sun across the sky, which in turns allows for more exposure to sunlight. Available in a variety of types, solar trackers cost a minimum of a few thousand dollars to purchase and install, meaning that they aren’t suitable for everyone. If you own a commercial property with a large number of solar panels, or you’re looking to run almost entirely on solar power, then a solar tracker may be worth investing in, but for a residential customer, the potential returns of a solar tracker likely won’t outweigh the initial cost.

Does solar panel positioning matter?

House with solar panels

Considering solar panels only work if they are exposed to sunlight, their positioning has a direct impact as to how effective they are. As a result, if you’re aiming to get the absolute most out of your solar panels, you’ll have to closely consider where you place them and the angle at which you set them at. You’ll likely find that the angle you choose will directly correlate with how much energy you generate from the sun, and how much you can potentially save on your energy bill.

However, there’s no point in setting your heart on a particular position if your roof can’t support it, or you have a bunch of trees blocking the sun. In the end, how you position your solar panels will depend on your individual circumstances. Solar installers can work with you to ensure you get the most effective system for your needs and energy usage. If you’re feeling keen to whack some panels on your rooftop, be sure to check out our ratings on solar panel installers below. Here, you’ll find the installers that everyday Aussies have rated ridgey-didge.

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Picture credit: Alessandro28/shutterstock.com, Rimgaudas Budrys/shutterstock.com, surasak jailak/shutterstock.com, Smileus/shutterstock.com

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