East/West vs South Solar Panels

Last Updated on July 11th, 2023

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When setting up solar panels, you want to make sure it is set up to be as efficient as possible. This means that you need to take everything into account.

For example, any trees above where you want to put solar panels could cause shade, making the system less effective.

Did you know that your solar panels’ direction can also determine their efficiency? While you never want to point your panels north, as that gets the least sun throughout the day, you may be struggling to determine whether south, east, or west is better in the northern hemisphere.

The answer is generally south. This is because it gets the most sunlight throughout the day, providing your system with the most efficiency. However, the southwest is ideal, as it also gets peak sun near the end of the day.

Vertical solar panels outdoor - East/West vs South Solar Panels

Why Does the Position Matter?

The position matters because certain directions get more sun throughout the day than others. It works the same way when you garden.

North tends to get the least amount of sun throughout the day. East is good for early morning sun, but it misses out on the peak afternoon sun.

West is better, but you miss out on the hours of the morning sun. For this reason, as far as the simple four cardinal directions are concerned, the south is best. It gets the most sun throughout the day and gets bits of the early morning and late afternoon sun.

However, if you have a bit more options than just four directions, the southwest is the best. It allows you to get plenty of sun throughout the day and maximizes when the sun is strongest in the afternoon.


Does the Price Vary based on its Position?

Overall, the price shouldn’t change based on the position, as long as it is easy to set up in any direction. However, sometimes your home is sloped one way or the other, so brackets will have to be installed to get the best angle and direction.

The same is true if a structure has to be built for your solar panels to rest on. On homes like A-frames, where they only have a roof in two directions, something else might have to be installed or built to allow for the ideal placement of solar panels.

Additionally, if something like tree branches is blocking some light, you may have to pay for those to be removed. Overall, though, the installation for any direction should all be the same.


Pros and Cons of the Positioning of Solar Panels

Taking time to correctly position your solar panels comes with a lot of pros.

  • Gives you more power throughout the day
  • Allows you to save more money throughout the year
  • It may not take more time or money to do


There aren’t many cons to the positioning of solar panels.

  • It may not be possible to get an ideal angle based on other homes/trees/ structures nearby
  • The roof may not allow for ideal positions for solar panels
  • It may be costly to build a structure or install brackets to get the ideal position


Price Range of It

The price range for solar panels varies too much, to put it simply here. It depends on a lot of factors. Some of those factors include:

  • The company that is installing
  • Type of solar system you get (type of batteries, solar panels, etc.)
  • Power you want
  • Location
  • Weather


Out of these, the power you want, location, and weather in your area are probably the most influencing factors. This is because the bigger the system, the more batteries, the bigger inverter, and the more solar panels you have to buy.

Additionally, if you want something that provides, say, 20kWh (kilowatt hours) of power a day, a 5kW system is usually enough. However, you might need more in some areas where it isn’t as sunny.

Your location matters as well. The further you are from the equator, the fewer hours of sun you get a day, so a bigger system may be necessary.

Generally, however, estimating between two and five dollars per watt for your system should give you a general idea of the cost.


Final Verdict

The final verdict is that a southwest-facing solar system is best if you live in the northern hemisphere. As far as cardinal directions, south is best, with the west being next, then east, and finally north.

For the most part, you shouldn’t have to worry about additional costs for an install based on positioning unless the direction you want is much harder to get to than other directions or there isn’t an easy place to install your solar panels.

That means it is worth figuring out the ideal place to put your solar panels based on direction and where you get the most sun.

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