A roof’s orientation will impact the potential of solar panels for producing energy. However, there truly is not a one-size-fits-all approach for the placement of solar panels.  Homes located in the Northern Hemisphere, which includes Georgia, with south-facing solar panels will receive the most direct sunlight over a year. But a south-facing roof is not an absolute requirement for building a solar energy system that will be productive and economically viable.

East-West vs. South Facing Solar Panels

The reason why south-facing solar panels produce the most energy is because the sun’s path is invariably in the southern sky for homes located in the northern hemisphere. Panels facing the southeast and southwest will generate about 8% less. Directly east or west facing panels will produce 20% less.

Although a roof’s orientation plays a great part in determining solar panel production, it is not the most important factor in determining the cost effectiveness of a solar energy system. The utility cost of electricity and solar incentives will make a larger impact on ROI (return on investment) than the amount of power a system generates.

The rate structure of your utility will also play a factor in determining the significance of your roof orientation. A utility using TOU (time-of-use) pricing will charge higher for electricity during peak demand. Typically, high demand periods will be during the afternoon and evening. This is when people have returned home, turned on their air conditioning, cooked dinner, then turned on their televisions.

West-facing solar panels absorb the most sunlight during the afternoon and evening hours, and thus displace a greater amount of grid energy during periods of peak demand. Researchers discovered that west-facing panels produced almost 50% more energy than south-facing panels during peak demand hours for a normal 5.5 kW system. Even though their overall production is not as much, west-facing panels will generate energy when it counts most for savings.

Part 2 will cover Solar Battery Alternative, North-Facing Roofs, and Roof Pitch.

Trusted Professionals for Solar Solutions

Southern View Energy (SVE) is staffed by highly-trained, state licensed, bonded and insured professionals. Founded in 2009, SVE has provided solar electrical design and complete installation services totaling more than 30 megawatts. We are true and experienced solar experts servicing the State of Georgia. Call us at (678) 833-5191 for a free consultation today.