Solar Panel Angle Melbourne
If you're thinking about installing solar panels in Melbourne, you may have started considering which angle they should face for optimal sunlight coverage. A solar installer will be able to provide the most accurate answer for your particular situation, but there is a fairly reliable general rule.
The best orientation throughout Australia is usually true north and at a 30-45 degree angle. This is because we're in the southern hemisphere, and the sun travels north. The 30-45 degree range ensures that your solar panels are close to or equal to the latitude of your home. This combination results in your solar panels getting access to more light more often, ultimately resulting in more power.
The optimum solar panel angle for Melbourne
For Melbourne specifically, the consensus seems to be to tilt solar panels to around 37 degrees and keep them facing true north. However, the ultimate best direction for your circumstances can differ based on several factors.
While the whole of Australia has plenty of sunlight to satiate its solar panels, Melbourne's climate has a few peculiarities that must be accounted for when planning for solar panel efficiency.
Most important to remember is that Melbourne has a high number of cloudy days throughout the year (with approximately 113.9 overcast days per year, Melbourne is Australia's cloudiest capital!). The good news for Melbournians is that there is sufficient sunlight to accommodate the average Melbourne household on solar power all year long - it's just not always evenly distributed. This is where solar battery storage can level the playing field - by storing the excess energy you generate on some days to make them available for both cloudy spells, and throughout the night time hours.
Overall, Melbourne's climate provides a very capable environment for solar energy production and with the correct positioning, and a solar battery to evenly distribute the sunlight available, a house will have plenty of solar power output.
For more information about what installation entails, see our guide on solar panels Melbourne.
What factors may affect which angle my solar panels should face?
Influencing factors include:
- How much shade your house receives throughout the day
- The angle of your roof
- The latitude angle of your roof (for example - a flat roof versus a sloped roof)
- Limited roof space to cater to solar panels
- If you live in a very cloudy area
There may also be other technical limitations that cause your solar installer to recommend a different angle upon installation.
How you mount solar panels can help your home achieve the maximum amount of solar power output for your situation - so it's always advised you get a site inspection from a solar expert who can spot any irregularities that may need accounting for.
If you'd like to schedule a free virtual site inspection with Reposit, you can start by checking your eligibility for our solar and battery package here and our team will be in touch.
Why does the angle for solar panels matter?
We want our panels to capture sunlight during the most important and potent time of the day - that being midday.
If you lived in the Northern hemisphere, the situation would be reversed, and you'd want to angle your solar panels to be south facing to maximise your daily coverage.
As the direction of the sun changes as the day goes on, perpendicular panels will always have an advantage on capturing the sun's outputs.
What if I can't install solar panels facing north?
If you can't install solar panels in a north facing direction, not all is lost. You may still be able to maximise your solar panel output in some instances by adjusting its azimuth angle to be north-west or north-east. This will mean you can still get high efficiency from panels installed facing either west or east in direction.
Below is a table of the efficiency of power generation based on solar panel tilt in Melbourne:
Why do I often see solar panels on multiple sides of a house?
This could be for several reasons - the first is usually insufficient room on the roof to install all solar panels facing north. In Melbourne, panels are at around 99% efficiency when north-facing, and this drops to 67% when south facing, 83% when east facing and finally 86% when west facing.
If you've run out of room on your rooftop to install panels facing north, but require more solar power to meet your household's energy usage, then installing additional solar panels on the east and west sides still make sense. Especially when you account for adjusting their latitude angle to maximise whatever sunlight does reach their direction throughout the day.
Does the best angle for solar panels change during winter months?
Technically yes, the best angle for solar panels does change during winter months. In the summer, the best angle is the angle that most directly faces the sun. In the winter, the best angle is slightly higher, as the sun is lower in the sky during this time of year. However, this doesn't mean you need to adjust them to keep them functioning in winter.
Solar panels will still convert sunlight into electricity throughout the winter months as they did in summer - even in below freezing temperatures. This is because solar panels rely on converting sunlight, not heat.
In some parts of Australia, solar panels may even provide more optimal efficiency during winter simply due to favourable weather changes, such as being cooler.
Where winter can impact solar productivity is that the cold months result in shorter days, and subsequently, fewer sunlight hours. Solar panel performance can drop by between 2% to 15% as a result.
A solar system with a battery can once again store extra energy regardless of fluctuations over time - so you wouldn't have to worry about having enough power for self consumption if the sunlight available did change.
Does Angle Matter For Solar Panels?
Absolutely. Getting solar panels installed is a huge investment, and it should always come with financial peace of mind. A bad solar installations doesn't just include obvious defects or damage during the installation process. They can include "creeping" issues such as a suboptimal placement that results in wasted opportunity to effectively captailise on sunlight, or even shorten the service life of your solar panels.
Solar panel angle is one of the easiest examples of what to look out for - as an installation done at an ineffective angle can cut into your solar system's efficiency by up to 30%. Margins like that compound even more over time.
To Sum Up
Getting solar panels in Melbourne is a great choice - the city has access to ample sunlight despite its cloudiness and Victorian rebates make it more affordable than ever. However, to ensure that your solar panels are working to their maximum efficiency, you need to ensure that they are facing the optimum angle for your situation.
Looking To Get Solar Panels Installed?
If you're after solar panel installation in Melbourne or throughout Victoria, our team will be happy to assist you with getting guaranteed $0 electricity bills via our 'No Bill' plan. We don't just work with technicians, we work with engineers - who can help you get your solar panels setup in the optimal angle for maximum coverage every day of the year.
Check your eligibility below to get started!