☀️ In the UK, south-facing solar panels receive the most exposure to sunlight during the day
☀️ North-facing solar panels receive the least exposure to sunlight during the day
☀️ If your roof isn’t suitable, then ground or shed-mounted solar panels could be a solution
If you live in the UK and want to install solar panels on your roof, ground or shed, the best direction for them to face is south. This is because south-facing solar panels get the most sunlight throughout the day in the northern hemisphere, which means they generate more solar energy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have north-facing solar panels either.
To find out what kind of solar panels are suitable for your home, you can fill out our free contact form and get a free no-obligation quote from our solar energy experts at NXTGEN Energy.
Do solar panels in the UK have to be south-facing?
The UK does not have any regulations, rules or laws about where to put solar panels. But, some roof positions are better than others for getting more solar energy from the sun.
Solar panels always work best when they face south in the UK. This is because they can get more sun exposure during the day. During the day in the UK the sun moves from east to west, so south-facing panels can catch more sunlight than any other directions.
How much power do north-facing solar panels produce?
A 3kWp (Kilowatt Peak) solar PV system can make different amounts of electricity depending on which way the solar panels face. Solar panels that face north will make about 1,145 kWh (Kilowatt Hours) of electricity in a year. Solar panels that face south will make slightly more, about 1,361 kWh in a year. So, north-facing panels are not useless, but they are less efficient and will produce less solar power each year than south-facing solar panels.
How does this differ from south-facing solar panels?
North-facing solar panels in the UK can only make about 60% of the energy that south-facing solar panels can make. South-facing panels can make about 80%-100% of the energy they could get from the sun.
Is it worth installing solar panels if you only have a north-facing roof?
North-facing solar panels can still make some energy in the UK, but not as much as south-facing solar panels. You might need to install more solar panels to get the same amount of solar energy. It will also take longer for your solar PV system to pay for itself, about four years more, compared to south-facing solar panels.
How well your solar panels work depends on many factors, not just which way they face. The amount of shade, the angle of orientation, the size of your solar array, and the shape of the solar panels also matter.
The type of solar panels you use is also important. Some panels are better at making energy from the sun, but they cost more. For example, monocrystalline solar panels are very good, but very expensive. They are made from one piece of pure silicon.
Alternatives to a north-facing roof
You don’t have to put solar panels on your roof if you don’t have enough space, a strong roof, or it’s not a south-facing roof.
You can also put solar panels on the ground in your garden. They are normally attached to a metal frame and raised a little bit above the ground. This is how solar panels are installed on the big solar farms in the UK.
Ground-mounted panels are usually more expensive than roof-mounted panels, but they can make more solar energy because you can point them at the sun better, as you are not limited by your roof-facing or the angle of orientation of your roof which may be not ideal. They are also easier to keep clean and fix.
If you can’t put solar panels on the ground in your garden or on your roof, you can try putting them on your shed or garage roof. It is similar to putting them on your house, but you have to make sure your shed or garage roof is strong enough.
What is the ideal angle and direction for solar panels in the UK?
The angle of your solar panels matters a lot. The more sun they get during the day, the more solar energy they can produce.
The best way to angle your solar panels in the UK is between 20 and 50 degrees and facing south. This way, they can catch the most sunlight during the day. If they are angled outside these figures, they will still produce energy, but not as well.
What’s the ideal solar panel situation in the southern hemisphere?
The sun is closer to the equator on earth, so solar panels should face that way to get more sun. In the UK, that means facing south, because the UK is above the equator in the northern hemisphere.
But what if you live below the equator, like in South Africa, Australia, or Argentina? Then you should do the opposite. Your solar panels should face north, because that is where the equator is. This way, they can get more sunlight during the day.
Before you get a solar PV system, you need to know the basics of how solar panels work and how to make them work best. Solar panels in the UK make more energy when they are south-facing and are angled between 20 and 50 degrees.
This does not mean that north-facing solar panels are useless, but they will make less solar energy than south-facing ones.
Feeling motivated and ready to get a free no-obligation quote for a solar PV system? Want to learn more? Your best option is to talk to one of our friendly solar energy experts on 01268 928 690 or click on the ‘Enquire Now’ button below and we will help you find the right fit for your home and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Panel Facing
South-facing solar panels are the best choice in the UK, because they get the most sun during the day. But, north-facing panels can still work and save you money on electricity. North-facing panels will make up to 40% less energy than south-facing ones. This is because they get less direct sunlight. But, they still get some sunlight and can make some energy.
You can use north-facing solar panels on your roof in the UK, but they will not work very well. Your roof already gets less sun than a south-facing roof, so you need to make sure nothing else blocks the sun. If your roof has a lot of shade during the day, you should not put solar panels on it. You can try putting them on the ground or on your shed instead.
A 3kWp solar PV system can make different amounts of electricity depending on which way the panels face. Panels that face north will make about 1,145 kWh of electricity in a year. But, there are other things that affect how well solar panels work, not just the direction. For example, the angle of the panels also matters.
North-facing panels can only make about 60% of the energy that south-facing panels can make. South-facing panels can make 100% of the energy they could get from the sun. So, if you want to make the same amount of energy with north-facing panels, you will need more panels or better panels. Both of these options will cost more money.
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