How to decide where to place solar panels on your roof
For homeowners who are already convinced of the benefits of solar – the challenge isn’t deciding whether to go solar — it’s optimising your solar setup for peak performance. Whether you’re upgrading an existing system or designing a new one from scratch, this guide aims to provide actionable insights for maximising your solar investment.
Our previous article looked at how to decide how many solar panels you’ll need which you can read here.
Once you know how many panels you want, you need to make sure you can actually fit them on your roof and optimise their placement to maximise performance. So this article dives deep into the intricacies of working out how to arrange the solar panels on your home, taking into account everything from energy consumption patterns to the latest technology in virtual simulation.
Determining Panel Placement
Your roof’s orientation and tilt angle are crucial for capturing sunlight effectively. North-facing panels are generally ideal in Australia, but other directions can be useful for spreading out energy production throughout the day. There are also other things to take into account when determining where to place your panels:
- Assessing Roof Space: The layout of your roof significantly impacts where you can place your solar panels. Take note of any obstructions like chimneys, vent pipes, or skylights that could potentially shade the panels. A solar expert can evaluate your roof space to provide tailored recommendations on the optimal layout.
- Orientation: In Australia, solar panels perform best when they’re facing north. The angle at which they are tilted also matters for maximising energy capture. An assessment from a qualified installer can provide the best recommendation for your specific roof and location.
- Tilt: The tilt angle of your panels can influence how effectively they generate power. While there are general guidelines for optimal tilt angles, these can vary based on your specific geographical location and the particular orientation of your home.
- Spreading Panels for Balanced Energy Generation: Spreading out your panels in different directions—some facing east or west, for example—can be beneficial for more balanced energy generation throughout the day. This approach is particularly useful if your household has varied energy needs at different times, helping you maximise your solar benefits.
- Shading Analysis: Even small shadows can significantly reduce the efficiency of your solar panel system. Use shading analysis tools or consult with a solar expert to identify any potential shading issues and make adjustments accordingly.
- Optimising Placement & Energy Consumption: Sometimes, a single orientation may not suffice, especially if your home experiences varying energy needs throughout the day. In such cases, professionals may recommend installing panels in multiple orientations. This ensures that your solar system keeps producing power at an optimal rate, even when the sun is not at its peak.
Orientation and tilt can substantially impact your system’s effectiveness. For Australian homes, a northerly orientation is usually recommended for maximum energy capture. However, east and west orientations are also viable alternatives for capturing the morning and afternoon sun, respectively.
Utilising Technology for Precise Panel Placement
For an even more precise placement of your solar panels, professionals often rely on advanced technologies like Pylon or Nearmap. These tools offer aerial imagery and data analytics that provide detailed insights into your roof’s topology and sunlight exposure, enabling experts to design a custom solar solution for you.
These systems include:
- Aerial Imagery for Accurate Assessment: High-resolution aerial imagery allows solar experts to measure roof dimensions, assess the layout, and identify obstructions more accurately than traditional methods. This level of detail ensures that your solar system design is optimally configured for maximum energy production.
- Sunlight Exposure Analysis: Pylon and Nearmap provide the capability to analyse the amount of sunlight that hits your roof throughout the year. Understanding these patterns allows for better decision-making when it comes to panel orientation and placement.
- Custom Solar Designs: With data from these tools, solar designers can develop a customised plan that factors in your roof’s specific conditions, your household’s energy consumption patterns, and the optimal number of panels needed. The result is a more efficient, effective solar system tailored for your needs.
- Virtual Simulations: Before making any commitments, you can view virtual simulations that show how the proposed solar setup will look on your roof. These simulations can even incorporate the exact brand and model of solar panels you’re considering. This level of detail gives you peace of mind that your investment is well-planned, down to the specific brand you prefer.
While you can certainly arm yourself with a lot of useful information, the intricacies of designing and installing a solar panel system are best left to the professionals such as Arkana Energy who have software such as Pylon or Nearmap. Our certified solar experts are trained to consider numerous variables that may not be immediately obvious to a homeowner.
Determining the placement of solar panels for your home is a multifaceted process. It involves understanding your energy needs, choosing the right components, and leveraging technology for precise planning. While you can gather plenty of insights on your own, nothing beats the expertise of certified professionals such as Arkana Energy in ensuring that you make the most of your solar investment.
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