If you’re considering making an investment in solar, one of the first questions you may be asking is “Can I have solar on my house?” or “Is my roof suitable for solar?” Our customers in the Columbia, MD area often ask us these questions, along with similar questions like “What is the best direction for solar panels to face?”
You may have heard that solar panels should face south in order to effectively generate clean electricity. While that is mostly true, it does not necessarily mean that a non south facing roof is unsuitable for solar. Here is a look at why most solar panels are oriented towards the south when they are installed — and what your options are if your roof does not face south.
South Facing Solar Panels Generate More Energy
Due to how sunlight travels here in the Northern Hemisphere, south facing solar panels see the greatest amount of sun exposure throughout the day and therefore produce the most energy. However, your roof does not need to face south in order for solar to make financial sense.
Options for Non South Facing Roofs
Roof orientation is just one factor that determines how financially viable your solar PV system will be. Other important factors to consider include local electricity rates (particularly time-of-use rates) and incentives which offset the upfront cost of solar. A trusted local solar installation company can work with you to outline the best options for you.
If you have an east-west oriented roof, your solar contractor may suggest one of these options.
East or west facing solar panels
East and west facing solar panels generate an estimated 20% less energy than south facing solar panels. However, if your local utility charges more for electricity used during the late afternoon and evening (as some utility companies in Maryland do), it may even be advantageous to have west facing solar panels generate more energy during this time.
Your solar contractor can also install your solar panels at an angle that minimizes reduced energy production. When east or west facing solar panels are installed at a 15° tilt, for example, energy production levels decrease by only about 15%.
A larger system
Though east and west facing solar panels do not generate quite as much energy as south facing panels, this reduced energy production can be offset by installing a larger system. The federal solar tax incentive, local incentives, and financing options can make this a financially viable option.
Ground mounted solar
Solar panels do not have to be installed on your roof. If you have enough open land on your property, you may choose to install a ground-mounted solar PV system. We’ve designed these types of systems for homeowners and businesses, alike.
Standard Energy Solutions, Maryland’s solar installation company.
Your roof does not need to be perfectly oriented towards the south in order for you to enjoy the financial benefits of solar. If you’re considering solar for your home or business in the Columbia, MD area, get in touch with Standard Energy Solutions, Maryland’s local solar and energy expert. We take pride in designing customized solutions based on a home’s or building’s unique design, location, and property characteristics — and we would love to show you how solar can work for you.