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Solar Panels On West Facing Roof New Jersey | What facing roof is best for solar panel?

Solar panels on west facing roof

New research shows that more electricity could be produced if solar panels are installed on west-facing roof panels.

Rooftop solar panels face south to maximize their production of kilowatt-hours. But they should face west, according to a new study by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colo.

The federal lab studied 26 rooftop systems with 34 photovoltaic modules each. Researchers found that the solar panels produced nearly 20 percent less electricity than they could have — just because they were facing south.

Most roof solar systems studied were installed in Colorado and California, where two-thirds of all roof solar modules are located. Only a few of these systems ever produce electricity during peak demand periods. Yet, utilities pay residential consumers the same rate for electricity at all times of day or night.

The NREL researchers say that homeowners’ price for their electricity more closely reflects the time of day. Solar modules need to face west during peak daytime hours and south during off-peak nighttime hours. That would increase panel output by 20 percent on average, they estimate.

Let’s talk about what homeowners need to know about solar panel installation on the west side.

Lost Output

The effect on the output of a solar PV panel direction was dramatic. If a rooftop system’s modules were all oriented in one way, it produced about 5 percent more electricity than if they faced another direction under identical cloud cover and other weather conditions. The orientation effect came as a surprise to the NREL researchers.

Peak production

The output of a rooftop panels system peaks not when the sun is highest in the sky but instead during midafternoon. Peak demand for electricity, however, comes late in the evening when people return home from work and turn on their lights and appliances. In addition to peak demand periods occurring at different times, they also tend to be more pronounced in winter than summer.

Fair weather

The most productive orientation for roof panels was facing west during the midday hours when electricity is needed the most. The next best direction faced south or southwest, producing roughly 80 percent of the power from a system that is placed in the west facing roof. East-facing modules made just 50 percent of the potential energy. The least practical orientation was facing north; panels on the roof faced that way lost nearly 30 percent of their efficiency.

How is solar panel orientation determined?

The optimal solar panel tilt angle varies depending on how far north or south you are. The tilt angle is most optimum if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and make sure the optimum tilt is calculated based on the latitude of your solar panels – in other words, subtract 15 degrees when you live in the Northern Hemisphere. If your latitude for winter is 34 degrees and for summer it’s 33 degrees, there’s a 5-degrees difference between winter and summer so your solar panels will produce more energy during summer than wintertime.

Factors to consider when deciding to start generating clean solar energy

There are some factors to consider when determining how you want your solar panels oriented.

  • The orientation of your house. If your home faces south, you will want the panels face to south as well. To maximize your panel’s exposure to the sun, you should also consider having them face west facing roofs or southwest.
  • Shading from building or trees. If your area is heavily treed, you might not want your panels facing south because of potential shading issues.
  • The time of year. If you are located in an area where the sun is lower to the horizon during the winter months, your panels will capture less solar energy. With that being said, you might want to consider having them face west or southwest instead of the south during these times. Many experts recommend that solar cells be installed at a tilt between 30 to 50 degrees.
  • The solar panels’ efficiency will play a role in how efficient they are and produce more power than if they’re not facing west. Ensure that you know what solar panel is best for you and what suitability it has before purchase.
  • Solar panel cost. If you have a limited budget, you will want to consider if spending more money on higher-efficiency panels is worth it.
  • Your roof. If you have a tile or shingle roofs, you will want to make sure that it can support the weight of the panels and possibly any snow build-up during the winter months.
  • The angle of your roofs. If you have a flat roof, ensure that there is enough room for the tilt of the panels. This way, the panels will be more effective and produce more power. Your roof can support solar panels of any size, as long as they aren’t weighing more than 60 pounds per square foot.
  • The future plans for your home. If you plan on adding rooms to your house in the future, this could change how your roof is oriented and leave you no longer able to utilize solar panels. If this is your situation, be sure to take it into consideration before deciding if you want them or not.

What facing roof is best for solar panels?

solar panels on west facing roof

The best solar panel direction is determined by the type of climate in which you live. West-facing panels can be more beneficial in areas where the sun is lower to the horizon during the winter months because they will capture more energy than south-facing panels. If you’re purchasing solar panels, you should know what type of weather your area experiences and what type of solar panel systems will suit it best. For example, people living in an area that has intense heat should consider getting a panel with high-efficiency levels because they will produce more electricity than if they were less efficient than the average panel.

The best direction for the solar panel system can also depend on what you are trying to achieve. If you’re looking to save the most money, solar panels facing south are your best bet. This is because they will produce more electricity than west or east-facing panels during that time of day when electricity rates are at their highest. Consider getting a west-facing panel if you want a single panel that can produce electricity from morning to evening.

If you’re concerned about aesthetics and don’t want panels visible from certain angles, then solar panels west facing are your best bet because they will not be visible from the street when looking at your house.

What are some benefits of west-facing solar panel systems?

The most significant benefit is that west-facing panels produce the most energy in the afternoon when it’s needed most. Peak demand also comes at that time. West-facing panels would tend to have higher capacity factors than south-facing ones because the capacity factor is calculated as total energy divided by annual energy. If the total hours in one day are smaller than the total hours in one year, then days can be shorter in winter and, therefore, fewer total hours per day compared to a summer where there are more daylight hours.

There is also less direct sunlight during those times, which means that west-facing panels have lower temperatures. Lower temperatures can result in higher efficiency production. So if you live in an area where the weather gets scorching, south-facing panels are not your best option because their high heat will decrease efficiency.

Lastly, west-facing panels are less visible from the street than south-facing ones, which means they are an excellent solution for those concerned about their home’s appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How efficient are west facing solar photovoltaic panels?

West-facing solar panels are less efficient than south-facing ones because of the lower sunlight. Compared to south-facing panels, west facing solar panels generated nearly 50% more power during peak usage hours when normalized for a 5.5 kW system.

Which is better, east facing or west facing?

East-facing panels are the best choice to maximize electricity production throughout the day. West facing panels are more beneficial because they produce energy in the afternoon when electricity rates are high.

Which direction should my roof face for solar panel?

East-facing panels are best in areas where winter days have a lot of cloudy weather. West-facing panels are suitable for residential installation in hot climates where electricity rates tend to be at their highest during the afternoon when the sun is at its highest. South-facing panels are also good in hotter locations, but they don’t fare as well in hotter climates with a great deal of direct sunlight.

How do west-facing solar panels work?

West-facing solar panels work are almost identical to south-facing ones, except their orientation is reversed to face the west roof instead of the south. This allows them to produce energy better when electricity rates are high, like during the afternoon hours.

Does it matter if my panels are placed in north facing roof?

The direction your solar panels are facing does matter, but it’s not as important as some people think. In general, you’ll want to point your panels towards the south so they can get the most sunlight exposure possible. However, if your roofs are partially or fully shaded by trees or other buildings, then you may need to adjust your panels to the north. North facing panels are great for maximizing your solar production, but they’re not ideal for homes that need to get power during the winter. North facing roof is good for solar panels in cold areas.

Is it better to turn south-facing panels in winter?

If you choose to turn your solar panels south for the winter, remember that the sun will be lower and less intense. This means you’ll get less electricity out of your system than if you didn’t turn your solar photovoltaic panels at all. Turning the panels has the potential to inflict more wear on them than simply keeping them in place. This is why most PV installation is designed not to turn at all during the winter months.

What’s better for my west-facing solar array, standard or microinverters?

A west-facing solar array can benefit from having a standard inverter because the lack of shade in the afternoon means they produce more power. On the other hand, a south-facing array helps from microinverters because there is a higher probability that it will be shaded for a portion of the day.

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