Solar Angle Calculator
This solar angle calculator tells you the optimum angle to get the best out of your system. To get the best out of your photovoltaic panels, you need to angle them towards the sun. The optimum angle varies throughout the year, depending on the seasons and your location and this calculator shows the difference in sun height on a month-by-month basis.
Of course, the sun is continually moving throughout the day and to get the very best from your photovoltaic system you would need to angle your panels to track the sun minute by minute.
You can buy an automated solar tracker to do this (see picture on right). Unfortunately, the expense of a tracker means that for most applications they are more expensive than buying additional panels to compensate. The amount of power a solar tracker uses in order to track the sun also negates much of its benefits.
The sun is at its highest at solar noon each day (this occurs exactly half way between sunrise and sunset) and this calculator shows the angle at that time of day. At solar noon, the irradiance from the sun is at its very highest and you can generate the most power. In the northern hemisphere, the sun is due south at solar noon.
Therefore, to get the very best out of your photovoltaic panels, you would typically face them due south at the optimum angle so that the panel is receiving as much sunlight as possible at this time.
The correct angle for your project will depend very much as to when you want to get the best out of your photovoltaic system. If you want to get the best performance during the summer months, you would angle your photovoltaic panels according to the height of the sun in the sky during these months.
If you want to improve your winter performance, you would angle your photovoltaic panels towards the winter months in order to get the best performance at that time of year.
If you have the opportunity to adjust your photovoltaic panels throughout the year, you will benefit from having the optimum performance from your solar system all of the time.
This solar angle calculator allows you to calculate the optimum angle on a month-by-month basis.
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The 24/7 Solar Tracker:
This solar array tracks the sun across the sky throughout the day using a solar tracker. A sensor mounted on the top left hand corner of the array tracks the position of the sun and an electric motor moves the tracker so that the array can generate the maximum amount of power.
How to use the
solar angle calculator:
- Select your country from the list.
- If you have selected America or Canada, select your state or province.
- Select the town or city nearest where you live.
- The calculator will then show the optimum angle for the solar panel. The calculator shows the degrees from vertical.
- If you cannot change the angle of your panel throughout the year, angle your panel according to the time of year that you need to get the best performance out of your system.
- In the notes section, you can see the position of sunrise and sunset at different times of the year. This information will help you during a site survey to identify any potential obstructions at different times of the year.