Mounting your panels
The location and orientation of your solar panels will make a significant difference to the amount of energy they collect.
Ideally, you should choose a south-facing site (north facing in the southern hemisphere) that is free of shade all day, even in the low winter sun.
To get the most from your panel, it should be set at a specific angle, depending upon your latitude. Solar panels are generally tilted to generate as much energy as possible throughout winter - the summer energy harvest will still be higher.
To find the optimum winter mounting angle (from the horizontal), use this simple formula (courtesy of Charles Landau):
Optimum angle (in degrees) = (your latitude x 0.9) + 29
Here are a few examples:
|Latitude (N or S)||Places||Panel angle|
|60 +||Reykjavik, Helsinki, Antarctica||90|
|57-59||Oslo, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Aberdeen||82|
|54-56||Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moscow, Belfast, Newcastle||78|
|52-53||Dublin, Leeds, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berlin||76|
|50 - 51||London, Brussels, Irkutsk, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Prague||74|
|48 - 49||Paris, Munich, Vancouver||72|
|45 - 47||Venice, Lyons, Odessa, Zurich, Quebec||70|
|42 - 44||Sofia, Vladivostok, Bucharest||67|
|39 - 41||Beijing, Ankara, Rome, Chicago, New York, Wellington||64|
|36 - 38||Algiers, Auckland, Athens, Lisbon||62|
|33 - 35||Cape Town, Sydney, Santiago, Buenos Aries||60|
|30 - 32||Cairo, Texas, Shanghai, Perth, Tripoli||56|
|27 - 29||New Delhi, Durban, Chihuahua||54|
|23 - 26||Sao Paulo, Havana, Johannesburg||50|
|19 - 22||Hong Kong, Bombay, Mecca, Cairo||46|
|14 - 21||Bangkok, Dakar, Kingston, Mexico City||43|
|9 - 13||Caracas, Lima, Darwin||38|
|5 - 8||Jakarta, Panama, Bogota||34|
|0 - 4||Singapore, Kinshasha, Nairobi||30|
If you are really keen, you can generate a little extra power by adjusting the panel angle according to the time of year:
Comparison of power generated by a fixed panel (blue line), seasonally adjusted panel (red line) and full automatic 2D tracking (green) throughout the year. © Charles Landau, used with permission.
|Winter||13 October to 27 February||As above|
|Spring||28 February 27 to 20 April||your latitude less 2.5 degrees|
|Summer||21 April to 22 August||Winter angle less 52 degrees|
|Autumn||23 August to 13 October||Your latitude less 2.5 degrees|
Alternatively, to keep things simple, just mount the panel vertically if your latitude is over 50 degrees, and horizontally otherwise. Note, though, that horizontal panels require more regular cleaning as rain will no longer help to wash off dust and dirt.
With a robust aluminium frame that can be drilled as necessary, solar panels are easy to mount. It is important, though, that they are firmly fixed to guard against wind damage and theft.
Our parent company Midsummer Energy sell a range of solar panel mounts, of both fixed and adjustable tilt, which are ideal for setting up all our framed solar panels.