Solar Power Primer: Panel Tilt

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Solar Power Primer: Panel Tilt
Dec 03 2010 Published by Patrick Newell under Renewable Energy Technology If you have attended a Civitas Energy free solar seminar (hint, hint!), then you have heard Tw eet us stress the importance of panel tilt as it pertains to solar energy efficiency. To summarize, a solar panel at its optimum tilt can produce 22% more energy than the same panel laid flat on the ground (using the assumptions described shortly), which means you would need 22% fewer panels to offset your energy needs. But why, exactly, does the tilt of a solar panel impact its output? Is there an optimum tilt? Does it vary by location? The quick answers: 1) that’s complicated, so continue reading; 2) there sure is; and 3) it sure does. Optimum Tilt & Location NJ Bright Future

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The prime tilt for a solar panel results when the face of the module is perfectly perpendicular to sunlight. Creating a perpendicular surface reduces the chance of the protective glass coating reflecting light away from the panel. Additionally, when a surface is not perpendicular, it has a smaller effective surface area. Here’s an example: take the nearest book, piece of paper, or even your keyboard. Hold it up so that it is perpendicular to your line of vision. Now start tilting it away from you; it appears smaller to more you tilt it, right? The actual ideal measurement varies by location; it varies by time of day; and it varies by time of year. Let’s make a few assumptions before discussing what the optimum tilt is going to be: 1. Our solar PV array is located in Princeton, NJ 2. Today is the Vernal Equinox (when the sun is directly above the equator) 3. It is noontime Given these assumptions, the optimal tilt for our solar panels is 40.3° degrees from the horizon. That was easy, right? Ok, ok, here is the explanation: our assumptions were carefully chosen such that the result is exactly equal to the line of latitude on which Princeton lies, 40.3°. So for those of you in Princeton with pitched roofs of 40.3°, congratulations, you have the perfect site for solar energy! Let’s clear this up with the image below. Photons of light are emitted from the sun on very close to parallel paths. At the equator, these photons hit the horizon a perpendicular angles, which is ideal (remember, we are assuming that it is the equinox). In Princeton, however, light hits at an angle, so we tilt our solar panels to create a perpendicular surface.

at its optimum tilt, a solar energy system may be 22% smaller than a system installed parallel to the ground

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careful measurements. this assumption is not going to change. please take a minute to read a the page on our website describing renewable energy technology.com/2010/12/solar-power-primer-panel-tilt/ 2/2 . First. Unless you are installing a PV array on the roof of your RV..php? id=109105729112494&width=240&connections is listed as a site within the category Current Internet Access Configuration for you does not allo category at this time.facebook. additional shading — remember what you learned about shading from our free solar seminars?? — and additional space. and noontime is actually a very brief moment in time. the rules of alternate and consecutive angles dictate that if we tilt the panel by the same amount as our latitude angle. moving parts. For the rest of us. Twitter. Welcome Googler! If you find this page useful. increased cost. modules must rotate side to side in order to maintain a face perpendicular to the rays of the sun. For more. Tracking the Sun Let’s revisit our assumptions. Sol ar Power. Nobody’s perfect! WINCell Depart For the geometry teachers out there.9/4/13 Solar Power Primer: Panel Tilt Access Denied Dear axatpatel. Ren ewabl e En ergy .g. or follow us on your favorite social media site (Facebook. is required. To account for the daily movement of the sun relative to our Solar PV array. X The web site you are trying to access: www. Sol ar Pan el s. we will create the desired surface perpendicular to the rays of sunlight. the roof pitch of standard NJ homes is adequate for flatmounted solar panel arrays which means you do not have to worry about the problems inherent to a tracking system. you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.civitasenergy. we are in Princeton. which have been done many times over. This is a message from the Angles are not exact. LinkedIn) to be alerted of similar articles on renewable energy as they become available. change constantly. but it is worth pointing out that some solar energy arrays do in fact account for the movement of the sun. so there are 363 other days to consider. We rarely ever recommend the dual-axis tracking system because it introduces a host of new problems (e. Equinoxes occur twice per year. Pri n ceton . Sol ar En ergy . PV . and Florida look s lik e a foot. The second and third however. reveal that an angle equal to the latitude reading is ideal. N J. Meta Register Log in Civitas Blog RSS Pow er ed b y W P Gr eet Box W or dPr ess Pl ugi n Tags: En ergy Effi ci en cy . As for the seasonal effect — think about how much higher in the sky the sun is positioned in the summer than in the winter — a second axis. which most roofs do not have). Check back soon. one that allows the panels to increase or decrease tilt. so there is more than 99% of the day to consider as well. To get the maximum energy efficiency from solar panels. Ti l t Comments are off for this post Civitas Bright Future Blog Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved Site Admin blog. they would need to be set in motion.com/plugins/likebox. Generally speaking.