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:

Optimum winter panel angle (degrees from horizontal)
Latitude (N or S)PlacesPanel angle
60 +Reykjavik, Helsinki, Antarctica90
57-59Oslo, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Aberdeen82
54-56Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Moscow, Belfast, Newcastle78
52-53Dublin, Leeds, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Berlin76
50 - 51London, Brussels, Irkutsk, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Prague74
48 - 49Paris, Munich, Vancouver72
45 - 47Venice, Lyons, Odessa, Zurich, Quebec70
42 - 44Sofia, Vladivostok, Bucharest67
39 - 41Beijing, Ankara, Rome, Chicago, New York, Wellington64
36 - 38Algiers, Auckland, Athens, Lisbon62
33 - 35Cape Town, Sydney, Santiago, Buenos Aries60
30 - 32Cairo, Texas, Shanghai, Perth, Tripoli56
27 - 29New Delhi, Durban, Chihuahua54
23 - 26Sao Paulo, Havana, Johannesburg50
19 - 22Hong Kong, Bombay, Mecca, Cairo46
14 - 21Bangkok, Dakar, Kingston, Mexico City43
9 - 13Caracas, Lima, Darwin38
5 - 8Jakarta, Panama, Bogota34
0 - 4Singapore, Kinshasha, Nairobi30

If you are really keen, you can generate a little extra power by adjusting the panel angle according to the time of year:

Solar harvest graph

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.

Optimum panel angle by season (degrees from horizontal, northern hemisphere)
SeasonDatesAngle (degrees)
Winter13 October to 27 FebruaryAs above
Spring28 February 27 to 20 Aprilyour latitude less 2.5 degrees
Summer21 April to 22 AugustWinter angle less 52 degrees
Autumn23 August to 13 OctoberYour 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.