What do I need to pay attention to in order to get optimum efficiency from my solar array?

When it comes to installing solar panels and placing for optimum efficiency in Las Vegas, three very important considerations come into play: the orientation of the sun to where you are located on planet Earth, the facing direction of the solar panels, and the angle at which the panels are placed.

When people pay attention to these 3 things they will harvest the most direct sunlight to operate their solar system.

The Earth’s tilting axis makes the difference in solar installation.

As we all know, planet Earth is shaped like a mostly round sphere, slightly squashed down from pole to pole. Some prefer to say it is an ovoid and not a true sphere. 

Our planet’s orientation to the sun has a tremendous impact on all things in both our natural and human made environments.

As we know, the Earth rotates around the sun. If the earth sat straight up and down on its axis instead of tilting, there would be no seasons.  No matter where we sat on the planet, every single day would be the exact same length and we would receive the same amount of light and darkness each and every day. January 1st and June 21st would be the same length. The sun would rise at the same time every day. It would set at the same time. There would be no seasons on planet Earth.  

As we know, Nevada does have four seasons. This is because the Earth’s axis tilts. While the planet rotates around the sun, making one complete trip over the course of roughly 365 days (a year), it’s the tilt that makes the sun rise and set at different times throughout the days of the year. Accordingly, in the northern hemisphere the sun seems to creep northward as summer approaches between April 21st and June 21st and days get longer. 

On June 21st, the longest day of the year, the sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Cancer, or a line of longitude at roughly 26.4° north of the equator. Meaning the sun is at its furthest point northward on that degree line of longitude on that date. Alternatively on the shortest day in the northern hemisphere, December 21st, the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn south of the equator at 26.4° south.

The main take away from this discussion is to remember that in the northern hemisphere, depending on the time of year, your location sometimes tilts toward the sun creating summer and catching more direct sunlight, and at other times of the year, it tilts away from the sun creating winter and catching less direct sunlight.

With Solar it’s all about the longitude.

correct solar panel direction

Correct Solar Panel Angle Is Crucial


The line of longitude you are located upon determines the facing direction of your panels and to an extent and the angle and at which your solar panels should be installed to catch the most sunlight

Longitude are the lines running horizontally or in the east/west directions across the globe. People along the same line of longitude will experience the same lengths of daylight versus dark hours. Accordingly, in general people on the same lines of longitude can install their panels on the same general principle of how much direct and daylight sun they will receive.  

By the way, latitude is the up/down or north/south direction on the globe. 0° latitude is either the north pole or the south pole and 90° latitude places us right on the equator. Halfway between the north pole and the south pole. 

When it comes to getting maximum efficiency from your solar installation, you have to pay attention to where you are on the globe and how the sun orients to that location. 

Solar Array Direction

In Nevada, your solar panels create more solar power when they face true geographic south rather than magnetic south, and a little southwest when being installed for home use. We say this about home installations because power requirements tend to be higher in the evenings and pointing a bit southwest allows a tad more direct beam capture in late afternoons.

Now for optimum efficiency, you can always install auto-direct panels which move throughout the day to more directly face the sun. Pricey to install but very efficient.

Solar Photovoltaic Angle

The angle or tilt at which you should install panels must be taken into account to get the most efficient placement of solar panels. Think of angles like the tilting of blinds or shutter slats to let in the most light. When installed solar panels should tilt in a similar way to capture the most direct sunlight. 

There’s a little solar shortcut or trick. In general, you tilt your panel to the same degree as your degree of LATITUDE. So, if you lie at 45° tilt your panels 45°s.

Important considerations when installing solar panels.

Of course, when installing solar panels, other criteria apply. Like the number of days of clear, sunny weather; the pitch or terrain of the roof; and how much shade the surrounding foliage and landscape creates.

Keep it simple and easy by contacting the experts at Sol-Up Solar

If you’re like me, you like learning all you can about things you consider doing. And like me you’ll probably want to be on the safe side and defer things to specialists, experts who do solar work and installations all day, every day. Rely on Nevada’s premier solar company, Sol-Up Solar. They will answer any questions you could possibly have. And they’ll do it with a smile and absolutely free of charge.

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