What’s the ideal roof tilt for solar panels?

If you’re thinking of getting solar panels, the slant of your slate can make a big difference to how effective your panels might be.

So what is the best roof tilt and what can you do if you don’t have it?

Roof orientation

This is the way that your roof faces. There is an optimum direction for your roof to face, and that is north. A north-facing roof will provide you with the absolute maximum of usable sunlight to convert to AC electricity.

Roof tilt

Roof tilt is measured in degrees. As a starting point a flat roof has a tilt of 0 degrees. Energy experts suggest that the optimum roof tilt for solar effectiveness is your latitude plus 15° in the winter, or your latitude minus 10° in the summer.

For example

Sydney’s latitude is about 38°. So for ideal latitude in the winter the tilt would be 38° + 15° = 53°, and in the summer 38° - 10° = 28°.

Do I have to adjust my roof?

No. Solar panels can be fitted on most roofs without any modification to the roof, and most people install their panels at an angle that creates plenty of power all year round and leave it at that.

If you want absolutely optimum solar power generation, then you can talk to your solar installer about changing your panels with the changing seasons, but otherwise you can install your panels in a position that gets the best of both seasons and leave it at that.

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Tilt frames

If you have a flat roof, or find that your roof tilt is not optimum for the installation of solar panels, it’s easily remedied. Tilt frames sit beneath your solar panels and let you to customise the angle and tilt that they sit at.

The frames are lightweight and shouldn’t add too much extra load to your roof, plus they are discreet and easy to install, though there may be an additional cost. Talk to your solar installer about your roof and whether or not you may need to get tilt frames to get the most from your panels.

Your roof tilt is something that you don’t really need to think about that much. You solar installer will be responsible for all of the measurements and calculations of effectiveness of the panels, and they will advise you whether or not tilt frames or mid-season tilt changes are useful.

It is better for you to concern yourself with finding the right installer, than worrying about those few degrees of roof tilt that you may or may not have.

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