Why Are Solar Panels Fitted Facing South?

Last Updated on July 11th, 2023

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Solar panels are usually all faced in one direction and at a certain angle. As long as that direction and angle are possible, the solar panels will be faced that way by professionals. If it isn’t possible, a direction and angle as close as possible are aimed for.

You may be wondering why this is and what the benefit of a solar panel facing one way or another is. The answer is that it works best. These angles are ideal for having the most efficient solar panels and getting the most power for your money.

Continue reading below to learn more about the benefits of south-facing solar panels.

Person setting up solar panels on a rooftop - Why Are Solar Panels Fitted Facing South?

Is the Direction of a Solar Panel Important?

The direction of solar panels is very important. If you’ve ever done anything that is based on light, you will have noticed that they always tell you to face it south.

For example, when gardening or growing plants indoors, if you have a plant that needs a lot of suns, it is recommended you put them in a south-facing window.

If you work on houses and live in a colder area, you may see that most big windows face south, while most windows face north in hotter locations.

That is because the south is the cardinal direction that gets the most sun throughout the day. As a result, it gets a mix of soft-early morning light, harsh midday light, and the last light in the evening.

So if your solar panel faces south, you will see that they get more light throughout the day and are the most efficient in that direction, especially if they are also angled correctly to get the most light.


Can You Have Solar Panels, if not South-Facing?

You can have solar panels that don’t face south, but they won’t be as efficient. Also, since you aren’t getting as much sun throughout the day, it may take you longer for your solar panels to kick on in the morning or evening.

Even if they do turn on and start producing energy, they may not reach their peak efficiency for most of the day like they would if they face south. This is because they will be in the shade for a good portion of the day in any other direction.

It’s still possible to use solar panels if you can’t face them south, but it will take longer until you can get your money back, and you may find yourself having to buy more solar panels to meet your energy needs, which means it will be costly.


Can Solar Panels be Installed on the North-Facing Roof?

Yes, solar panels can technically be faced north, but we wouldn’t suggest it as your first option. This is because solar panels facing north can be up to 30% less efficient than south-facing ones, which means you lose around half of your potential power.

North-facing solar panels are by far the least effective. They are about 30% less efficient than south-facing roofs and 15% less than solar panels that face east or west.

If you only have a limited space to put panels in other directions, you can do a mix of directions, with some facing south. However, it is important to remember that these panels will work the least, and you can’t expect them to reach full power throughout the day.


Why Do Some People Place it West?

Though solar panels facing west and east get the same amount of light, west-facing solar panels are considered the second best direction. The reason for this is that though it is the same amount of light as when your solar panels face east, the light is better from the west.

The sun from the morning is often weak and isn’t as efficient. However, the light from the sun is a bit stronger during the evening, so though it is the same amount of light, it is a bit better in the evening and afternoon.

Some people argue that since we use most of our power in the evening when children get home from school and parents are getting home from work it would be more efficient to set them facing west as then we could absorb more of the power during these peak times.


Which Direction is the Worst for Panels?

The north direction is considered to be the worst. It gets the least amount of light throughout the day and will often be covered in shadow when put on a roof. East is the second worst as the light is weaker, and there is less of it coming onto your solar panels throughout the day.

The south is often considered to be the best, with the west being the second. However, if you can pick any general direction and not just the cardinal directions, you can place your solar panels in a southwest direction.


Final Thoughts on Why Are Solar Panels Fitted Facing South

Solar panels aren’t perfect and lack a lot of efficiency, so we have to do all we can to make the most out of them. That includes putting our solar panels in the right direction so that we can get the most out of the sunlight.

While there’s no perfect agreement, it is definitely decided that the south or west or a mix of the two is the best angle for solar panels. A solar panel facing west might be best if you are just getting energy that goes right into your system.

However, if you have a battery bank or storage for your excess power, facing your panels or as many of them south can be more efficient.

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