When it comes to deciding where to put your solar array, experts agree a south-facing orientation is best for solar. However, the direction that your solar panels face is only one of several factors to consider when finding the best place for solar installation. The angle of the panels and the tilt of your home’s roof are both important when determining the most efficient placement for solar panels.
My Generation Energy worked with one Chatham homeowner who didn't want his new solar panels on the south side of the house because it faced the street. After searching for another option for this client, we found that a dormer roof on the back of the house was pitched at just the right angle to host the solar energy system—even though it faced north.
Keep reading to learn more about the success of this project, which proved there can be some exceptions to the “south-facing” rule.
What Determines the Best Direction For Solar Panels?
There are three factors to consider when determining a solar PV system's ability to produce electricity—which is what we refer to as solar effectiveness:
- Roof orientation - North, South, East, or West
- Roof pitch - Meaning the slope of your roof
- Shading - How much shade your roof gets throughout the day
Every home is unique and the combination of these factors determines a solar panel’s ability to capture the sun's rays. In order to get a 100 percent effectiveness rating, you need a roof pitch of 41 degrees facing due south with no shading.
The professional team at My Generation Energy always aims for the highest effectiveness rating possible in every solar energy system we design. With our client in Chatham, the north-facing solar array ended up working because there is no shading and the north-facing dormer roof is low pitched, making it almost flat. This allows the solar panels to produce almost the same amount of electricity during the summer months as they would with a south-facing system.
The Savings With North-Facing Solar Panels Are Adding Up
Since My Generation Energy installed the 15-panel array for our client in Chatham in April 2018, the production of this north-facing roof array has beat expectations. Take a look at the difference between our conservative projections for effectiveness and production vs actual:
With the higher-than-expected performance of this system combined with electricity savings, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, and the other incentives that were available at the time of installation, this north-facing solar array is on track to pay for itself with a solar payback period of less than 6 years!
Get Customized Solar Solutions With My Generation Energy
With 14 years of experience and over 1,200 residential and commercial solar installations on Cape Cod and The Islands, we can handle just about any challenge—including north-facing solar panels. Since we provide start-to-finish solar solutions, the My Generation Energy team will be with you every step of the way, from the initial assessment to ongoing monitoring and support. Each solar system we design is built to last using top-performing panels, inverters, and electrical components. My Generation Energy wants to help you save as much as possible on your solar installation and can help you navigate financing options and incentives to maximize your savings!