Countries in the northern hemisphere, such as the United States, should place their solar panels facing the south in order to maximize the amount of light that reaches their rooftop panels. This is known as maximizing your solar gain.

Solar gain is higher during the summer months (June, July, August) due to the path of the sun being at a more direct (perpendicular) angle to your solar panels. When installing your solar panels, be sure that there aren’t any trees blocking the sun’s light from your panels. This will significantly reduce your solar gain.

This being said, if you have northern facing roof space with out any obstructions such as trees or buildings, then you should opt to install solar panels there so that you are guaranteed the best solar gain.

American Solar Direction

American solar directional losses

  • “You can also install solar panels on the east and the west facing front”

If your rooftop doesn’t provide the opportunity to mount a south-facing solar installation, it is entirely possible (and not all that uncommon) to place them on east of west facing roofs. There will be some solar losses, however, ranging in the 12% – 18% range.

During an on site assessment of your home, a solar installer or experienced sales representative will be able to advise you on the optimal direction your panels should be facing. It is highly recommended that you ask your solar installer for a detailed plan outlining the location that your solar power system will be placed.

Solar Direct Installer

What if a solar power company recommends that I install the solar panels on the north facing space on the roof?

I suggest you get a second opinion, unless of course you are in the southern hemisphere.


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