With solar panels increasingly becoming an alternative source of energy supply for households and commercial buildings across Western Australia, it’s often a common question about why some panels are mounted flat and some are tilted. In terms of their efficiency, some critical factors like temperature, inclination, climatic conditions and maintenance do play a role. In this article, we’ll be explaining why some panels are tilted and other aren’t, and also how this can differentiate throughout the year.
What Does Solar Panel Tilting Do?
Having your panels tilted to the correct angle is needed during the initial installation to ensure long term efficiency. The reason why solar panels are tilted is so they have the most exposure to the sun for the longest period of time. This means they’re the most efficient for the longest period of time, giving you the best performance.
Using your natural roof pitch is an important factor as to why some panels can’t even be flat at all. On homes with a very steep roof pitch, solar panels are best installed so they go with the natural roof pitch, as this is often the most cost-effective way to install. But, what benefits are there for flat placement?
Flat Placement of Solar Panels
For most roofs, they come having a slight tilt, and placing solar panels flat on their angled surface can provide the orientation needed to produce sufficient energy. However, for some roof types like concrete, which are entirely flat, placing your solar panels without a slight tilt is not an ideal choice. Why? There’s the issue of self-cleaning with tilted solar panels. The industry best practice in Australia recommends at least a slight tilt angle to ensure solar panels self-clean. Solar panels with inclinations undergo self-cleaning to prevent dust accumulation. Flat mounting of panels are often used in commercial applications where, as mentioned above, a flat roof is available.
When solar panels are mounted flat, they may need more cleaning than incline panels. This can be due to dust accumulating on the front of the panels that, when it rains, doesn’t flow away with gravity like it would do on an incline panel. But, this is often on a case-by-case basis.
Inclined Placement of Solar Panels
There’s the common misconception that placing your solar panels at a north-facing angle produces the maximum energy output. However, this isn’t always true, as sometimes shifting it due east or sometimes west can lead to more energy production. An inclined placement refers to positioning your solar panels at any angle other than flat to receive more sunlight. Any arrangement that tilts panels occupies an inclined position. There’s no one best fit inclined position as it’s all dependent on the system location and time of the day. It is also dependent on the natural incline of your roof pitch.
Does the Angle Need to Be Changed Seasonally?
In short, no it does not. During winter, the daylight time is shorter than in summer. Meaning that the solar panels aren’t exposed to the sunlight as often during winter compared to the equivalent period in summer. Unfortunately, once a solar system is installed, it’s a challenge to change the orientation of the panels without requiring new fabrication of mounting panels and various other componentry. During the quotation time, Ford & Doonan Solar will take into account the season changes of daylight along with any shadows and surrounding building that can impact the exposure to the sunlight.
Which Is Better? Flat or Inclined?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all for placing your solar panels, as it is mainly dependent on your location and roof inclination. At Ford and Doonan Solar, we evaluate your needs and ensure optimal solar installation.
How to Purchase a Solar System
If you’re looking to purchase a new solar PV system, or to upgrade or replace an existing system, contact Ford & Doonan today by either requesting a quote below, or by using our handy solar budget estimator to receive an estimated price.