Best solar panel angle

Best solar panel angle

We have all heard that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. However, the sun’s movement throughout the day is a little more complex. Why does this matter? Well, if you are in the market for the best solar panels you’ll need to understand the sun’s complex movements as they pertain to your specific location.

The earth has an inherent tilt and orbit pattern around the sun, and although it appears to make a generic movement every day, the planet will move differently over your zip code then it will for someone in another state.

Having a basic understanding of the sun’s movement will help you realize the importance of the orientation and angle of your solar panels. In this article, we’ll explain what solar panel orientation and angles are and their impact on your panels’ efficiency. This will set you up for success so you know the optimal conditions for peak solar panel performance.

Solar panel direction

The direction your roof faces is one of the primary factors determining how much sunshine your solar panels will see over the day. True south and true north face the Earth’s axis rather than aligning with Earth’s magnetic poles. For those north of the Equator, the best direction for solar panels is south, while homes in the southern hemisphere would position solar panels on roofs with a northern-facing orientation. By positioning solar panels according to true south and the azimuth angle—the angle of the sun about true north and true south—you’ll be able to get the best direction for solar panels and arrays.

What does “solar panel angle”?

Solar panel angle is another way of describing the vertical tilt of your PV system. When a solar system is a level with the ground, it has no tilt. If it’s standing upright — perpendicular to the ground — it is at a 90° angle.

The solar panel angle can affect the amount of solar electricity you generate and is based on latitude and the season.

Optimizing and adjusting your solar panel tilt according to these factors can help you maximize your solar power production.

What factors affect your optimal solar panel angle?

Several factors will alter the optimal angle of your solar panels. Here are a few things to consider when determining the best tilt for your solar array:

  1. Latitude

Most solar arrays are installed at an angle that best optimizes sunlight exposure for that location. For the vast majority of U.S. property owners, the ideal angle for a solar panel installation is close or equal to the latitude of your home (on a south-facing roof), somewhere between 30 degrees and 45 degrees. By tilting your solar panels at the same angle as the latitude of your home (which means pointing your panels at that average position), you are ensuring that you will get the maximum average output from your solar power system throughout the year.

  1. Existing roof design

It would be great if everyone had a roof that was angled the same as their latitude, but every property is unique and there is no universal solar panel placement map. Many roofs are going to have slopes between 30 and 40 degrees, which means that solar panels can lie flush against the roof and produce enough electricity for attractive returns.

If you are trying to install solar panels on a steep roof, it may not be possible to place panels at the optimal tilt with traditional racking systems. Because the steep angle of your roof might already be higher than the optimal angle for production, the best you can do is lie your panels flat against the roof. Low-angle roofs will also face obstacles when it comes to solar panel installation and may require specialized racking if you’re looking to tilt them at the optimal angle.


Calculate the Optimal Solar Panel Angle

Apart from calculating the exact solar panel angle for your solar panel system, some of you might want to install it without calculating the exact angle. In that case, you will have to install your solar panels more upright during winter and lower down during the summer. Similarly, you will have to install your solar panels lower if you are living closer to the equator and more upright near the pole. But if you want to calculate the exact tilt angle for your solar panels, then you can use either of the following methods:

Method 1

The first method is the easier one for those who want to calculate the solar panel angle quickly without having the best accuracy. This method simply needs you to add 15 degrees to your latitude during the winters and subtract 15 degrees during the summers. Even though this is not the most precise method, it will still offer decent efficiency.

Method 2

If you want a method for calculating the solar panel angle accurately, then you will need to do slightly more calculations. When it comes to calculating the solar panel angle for winters, you will need to multiply your latitude by 0.9 and then add 29 to it. This same angle will increase by 10 degrees during the day as the sun gets more up in the sky. As for summers, you will need to multiply your latitude by 0.9 and then subtract 23.5 degrees from it. Finally, you need to subtract 2.5 degrees from your latitude during summers and fall to get the right solar panel tilt angle for the best efficiency from your solar panels.



The performance of solar panels is affected by their angle of inclination. To extract maximum power from a PV system, you would have to adjust the angle based both on latitude and season.

In real situations, you often have to deal with fixed roof angles where there is no option to adjust or tilt the solar systems.

Because of this, solar systems are installed across a range of tilt angles as a means to accommodate a variety of roof pitches found on homes – effectively saving homeowners money.


Solar panels are a great way to save money on your electric bill and protect the environment. They can be expensive, but they pay for themselves in the long run. If you’re not sure if solar panels are right for you, we offer free consultations. Solar panels are a good investment for your home or business and will help you save money and energy for years to come.

With us, you get one-stop shopping when  it comes to solar panel installation in California. We’ll take care of everything from start to finish, so you can enjoy the benefits of clean energy worry-free. Get a free quote today and find out how much you can save with solar panels. Call us today for more information, or simply fill out the form on the home page and our experts will contact you.


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