Solar Nerd articles about: Azimuth

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Photo of a pole-mounted dual-axis solar tracker
Solar panels that follow the sun: are solar trackers right for you?
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises in the east, spends a bunch of time in the southern sky, and then sets in the west. Some plants have developed an ability, called heliotropism, to track the sun as it makes this daily trip across the sky. A young sunflower will point east in the morning, track the sun until it sets in the west, and then reorient themselves so they’re ready for the sun again in the morning.
Photo of a north compass arrow
Can you put solar panels on a north facing roof?
If you live in the Northern hemisphere, solar panels will receive the most sunlight if they face south. (This is reversed in the Southern hemisphere, so if you live in Australia the preferred direction is north). If you’re a homeowner interested in solar, you might not have this option: maybe the south-facing part of your roof is interrupted by vents, skylights or gables, or is shaded by trees. West is usually the next best option (which generates electricity during the evening peak) followed by east.
Photo of a nice house with solar panels.
Can I face my home solar panels east?
To generate the maximum electricity from your solar panels, you want them pointed south (if you live in Northern Hemisphere), but sometimes you don’t have much of a choice. Most homeowners mount their solar panels on their roof and consequently only have a couple orientations to choose from. (This is also known as azimuth, where 0° means pointing north and 180° is south.) Solar panels will work if you face them east: on average, east-facing solar panels will generate about 80% as much electricity as they would if pointed directly south.