Roof Orientation + Shading: How Does It Affect My Solar Panels?

Roof Orientation + Shading: How Does It Affect My Solar Panels?
July 23, 2020 Active Energy Group
In Solar

Roof Orientation + Shading: How Does It Affect My Solar Panels?

Solar systems generally consist of solar panels and an inverter. The panels absorb sunlight, which is then converted to electricity through the inverter. If your panels don’t receive direct sun during daylight hours, will they still produce energy? The short answer is yes. There are factors that will contribute to poorer performance, however this can often be avoided or overcome before the panels are even installed.  

We’ll explore the effects of shading and roof positioning, as well as other factors like seasons and day-to-day weather that may decrease the efficiency of your solar panels.

Roof Orientation

If you’re on the fence about switching to solar, chances are you’ve been deterred by the fact your home isn’t north facing. While the most ideal positioning for solar panels is usually north, east and west are efficient too. Every roof needs to be assessed individually, however it’s often beneficial for some homes to install a combination of north facing and either east or west facing panels. Thankfully, this is not something you need to worry about. Your team of solar installation experts will conduct a pre-solar assessment to determine where panels need to be positioned to run most efficiently for your home. This is heavily impacted by your power usage patterns. For example, if you’re away from home for work during the day and your peak hours of consumption are at night, west facing panels may be more beneficial as they’ll be exposed to more sunlight in the afternoon. 

Orientation does affect the performance of your solar panels, however your home doesn’t need to be completely north facing to reap the benefits.

Shading

Solar panels perform at their best when they are unshaded. The level of shading surrounding your home is something that is assessed upon initial inspection. If it is identified as a problem, it’s usually something that can be overcome. It’s important to pay close attention to the potential shading of your solar panels as even partial shade on the cells of one panel can affect the output of the entire panel. 

Innovation in solar power technology is gradually lessening the impact of shade on solar conversion. Prior to the installation of your solar panels, our team will use a range of mapping tools to identify the level of shading your roof receives year round.

A significant part of solar panel maintenance is to monitor vegetation growth around your home. Your solar panel system has a lifespan of up to 25 years, so a tree that may not be a problem at this point in time, could grow to become one in a decade’s time.

Seasons

The reality is that solar panels will produce less energy during winter. When the sun is lower in the sky, less power is produced. However, at the same token, panels tend to be less efficient if outdoor temperatures are soaring. Essentially, if the days are longer and your panels receive more sun, they’ll produce more energy. However, severe heat can limit conversion. While there are both positive and negative outcomes for your system in both summer and winter, their performance isn’t jeopardised significantly in most parts of Australia. Spring and autumn, the seasons that rarely incur weather extremes, will lead to the most consistent energy production.

Weather

It goes without saying that a cloudy, overcast day is less cooperative than a clear blue sky. The intensity and the hours of sunlight exposure will affect your system. Luckily, solar panels do continue to convert power during overcast or rainy weather. While it may be at a reduced rate, the panels will still perform. When determining the best system for your home or business, we’ll form a recommendation based on year-round energy production. What does this mean? It means we’ll install panels that are designed to thrive year-round under your circumstances and you won’t be forced to use energy from the grid when the sun isn’t shining in all its glory.

Contact us for a free consultation

All of the points listed above will be covered during pre-solar installation checks. You’ll never make the investment only to discover that the elements aren’t going to work in your favour. Our team will ensure your system is set up to perform at its best from day one.

If you’re interested in learning more about how solar can benefit your home, contact our team today.  

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