How to align solar panels appropriately for the greatest efficiency? Learn the fundamental techniques

Solar panels work most efficiently when installed, facing directly toward the sun. Unfortunately, this task is not as simple. This is because the sun moves across the sky during the day. Read below to find the best way to align your panels for maximum efficiency.

Visual Inspection For Maximum Efficiency

  • Conduct a visual inspection to ensure your solar panels work optimally. Take your time and check all wires and connections. Inspect your solar panels for cracks or burn marks. Check the voltage and current levels with a voltmeter.

If you notice the solar panels appear damaged, you must verify if they can be repaired. If the damage is beyond repair, you should call a professional solar recycling company and recycle your old solar panels.

Tilt and Azimuth Angle

  • Also known as the elevation angle, tilt is the panels’ vertical tilt. Azimuth Angle is a technical term that specifies the horizontal position of your solar panels in reference to the equator. Most solar panel experts perform the calculations in advance, to install the solar panels in the best direction and angle the first time.

Some people install trackers on their solar panels. Trackers are specialized devices that track the sun’s movement. They adjust the position of the solar panels using small motors to receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.

Selecting The Best Azimuth Angle

  • Most experts agree that solar panels should be installed facing the equator. For the USA, the consensus is to install them facing towards the true south instead of the magnetic south. The true and magnetic south can be determined using a compass.

Most people don’t know that the reading from a compass isn’t 100% accurate. This is because the Earth’s core’s magnetic field pulls the compass needle away from the true poles. Thus, the reading can be inaccurate by as much as 25 degrees.

  • Magnetic declination refers to the difference in degrees between the true and observed poles on the compass. To compensate for this difference, you must use an online chart or the NOAA tool to find your magnetic declination.

If the number is positive then true north is east of your location, otherwise, it is westward. You will have to adjust the position of your solar panels based on the magnetic declination value.

Equatorial Adjustments For Azimuth Angle

  • If you are located above the equator, i.e. in the northern hemisphere then your magnetic declination is going to be east. The value of your magnetic declination will be in positive figures. You must rotate your panels westward.

If your location is below the equator, i.e. you are in the southern hemisphere, then your magnetic declination will have a negative value. Your magnetic declination is going to be west, therefore, you must rotate your panels eastward.

  • For example, if you are located in San Diego, California, your magnetic declination will be 11 degrees east. You should locate the magnetic south at your location, and then adjust about 11 degrees towards the east.

These adjustments will result in your panels facing the equator, thus maximizing their exposure to sunlight. The correct positioning of the solar panels will maximize their benefits for its users.

Setting An Ideal Tilt

  • Most people set a fixed tilt for their solar panels and keep it the same throughout the year. The solar panel is tilted according to its current position’s latitude. This works well but does not produce excellent results all the time.

To optimize your solar panels for maximum sunlight exposure, the tilt has to be adjusted at least twice a year. During the summer season, the tilt should be adjusted to negative 10-15 degrees of latitude. For the winter season, the tilt should be adjusted to positive 10-15 degrees of latitude.

Seasonal Adjustments to Tilt

how to align solar panelsThe position of the sun in the sky changes about four times in any given year. These four changes are according to the four seasons. Adjust the tilt of your solar panels according to the list below for maximum efficiency and output:

  • Spring: Tilt should be according to your current latitude.
  • Summer: Tilt should be 15 degrees minus your latitude.
  • Autumn: Tilt should be according to your latitude.
  • Winter: Tilt should be adjusted as 15 degrees plus your latitude.

If you have faulty and irreparable solar panels and equipment, you must recycle them to minimize their environmental impact. PV2 Recycle is a professional solar recycling company. Contact us today at

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