Can North-Facing Solar Panels Work For You?

When it comes to deciding where to put your solar array, experts agree a south-facing orientation is best. However, the direction that your solar panels face is only one of several factors to consider when finding the best place for solar panels on your home or business. 

My Generation Energy is a trusted local solar company offering full-service residential and commercial installations. We’ve been helping Mass residents convert to solar energy since 2008 and have experience finding alternatives to south-facing panels that still makes solar worth the investment. Keep reading to learn more about the success of one of our north-facing projects, which proved there can be some exceptions to the south-facing rule. 

What Determines the Best Direction For Solar Panels? 

A solar PV system’s ability to produce electricity relies on its exposure to sunlight throughout the day and is referred to as solar effectiveness. Based on this, there are three main factors to consider when determining the best placement for solar panel installation:

  • 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 energy from the sun. In order to get a 100 percent effectiveness rating, you need a roof pitch of 41 degrees facing due south with no shading.

North-Facing Solar in Chatham

The professional team at My Generation Energy always aims for the highest effectiveness rating possible in every solar energy system we design. We 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, 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. 

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:

Solar Effectiveness:

Proposed: 65%

Actual: 80%

Solar Production:

Proposed: 4.8MWh

Actual: 5.4MWh

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 16 years of experience and over 1,200 residential and commercial solar installations throughout Greater Boston and on Cape Cod, 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, solar maintenance, 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, such as the solar tax credit, to maximize your savings and shorten your solar payback period.

Need creative & custom solar solutions?
Call My Generation Energy!

Get your free site assessment now!

My Generation Energy will never share your information or use high-pressure sales tactics.

Tesla Powerwall
Top Solar Contractors