Planet Gore

Science: Your Solar Panels Are Facing the Wrong Direction

Oops. The Telegraph reports:

Thousands of people have spent vast sums of money installing eco-friendly solar panels but most will have probably had them fitted facing the wrong way, according to energy experts.

The solar power industry is being urged to reconsider its approach to installing panels after one of the UK’s leading experts, Professor Ralph Gottshalg of Loughborough University says too many solar panels are facing in the wrong direction.

Professor Gottshalg said Germany has too many solar panels which means that its grid is disrupted on sunny Summer lunchtimes with a flood of solar power so cheap it has to be almost given away.

He is urging to the UK to follow Germany’s recent policy of putting panels on east-west facing roofs to smooth the supply of power during the day and prevent spikes of power at midday.

Conventional wisdom in the northern hemisphere is to face solar panels south so they get the most exposure to sunlight during the day.

Architects and installers, as a rule, use this approach all the time particularly on home solar panel installations.

In November, American research revealed that panels facing west may actually get more energy from the sun, and at more convenient times.

The study was carried out by the Pecan Street Research Institute, who studied homes with solar panels in Austin, Texas.

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