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Is it worth getting solar panels if your roof doesn’t face north?

Is it worth getting solar panels if your roof doesn’t face north?

You live in Australia and you’ve got a roof that doesn’t face north. Is it still worth getting a solar power system if the panels face a different direction – like east or west?

The short answer is generally YES.

That’s because solar panel efficiencies have improved so much, you only lose a relatively small percentage of your solar production if your panels aren’t facing north. For example, west facing panels produce only around 10-15 per cent less solar power than north facing panels in Australia according to solar monitoring experts Solar Analytics .

In fact – depending on the time of day when you use electricity – you may get a faster payback on your solar panel investment if your panels face east or west, or a combination of east and west.

Even south facing panels can be worth doing as the cost of solar panel systems have falling by over 80 per cent in the last 10 years. All you do, is add a few more solar panels to compensate for the lower production. Because solar panels are now so affordable, you can still get a great return on your solar power system.

What you’ll learn from reading this article

This article explains why a north facing panel layout may not always be the optimal solution, even if you have a terrific north facing unshaded roof.

We’ll also dispel some of the myths about the best time to export your solar power to the grid – as this is part of the same story.

The best way to save with solar

These days if you are getting solar installed, it’s a different game.  The best way to save money off your electricity bill is to use as much as possible of your self-generated solar electricity in the daytime.  It’s the exact opposite of how it used to be!

Why’s this so?

In a nutshell, it’s because the solar feed-in tariff is now only worth around 7 cents per kilowatt hour – whilst the rate your pay for grid electricity is typically around 25-30 cents per kilowatt hour.

So, the way to save money with solar now is to use it – and try to minimise the amount you send to the grid.

By using free solar electricity in your home, you don’t have to pay the high rates for electricity charged by your retailer.  The trick is that this doesn’t show up as a saving on your electricity bill – so most people don’t realise the entirety of what their solar panel system is really saving them.

But if you get one of the best solar power monitoring systems like Solar Analytics you’ll see exactly how much you’re saving.  It’s an add-on software tool that works with virtually all solar power systems and is well-worth having.  Get in touch if you’d like a quote.

Matching time of electricity usage with panel direction

What best describes your household?

  • One where everyone is up early and off to school/work – and back in the late afternoon/early evening?
  • One where at least one household member is home much of the day – maybe working from home, looking after small children etc

If your household resembles the first example, your biggest electricity usage is likely to be early morning and late afternoon/early evening – as this is when everyone’s home doing the cooking, having showers, running the aircon etc.  If this is the case, then solar panels facing east and west will be the best solution for your home – and the way to maximise your electricity bill savings.  That’s because the solar power being generated by your east facing panels will supply most of your electricity needs in the morning and the west-facing panels will supply you with power in the late afternoon.

If, however, your home is more like the second example, getting solar panels installed on your north facing roof or a combination of north/east or north/west – depending on roof suitability – might be the best way to save most on electricity costs.

It’s a question of matching your household electricity usage profile with the best possible solar panel layout given your roof space and whether there’s any shading.

Get in touch

Talk to a solar expert from Solar Run to get the best advice on solar panel layout for your property.

Solar panel design is a specialised task requiring specialist solar software and knowledge. We’ve got the skills and technology to assess what’s right for your property, so you get the best return on your solar dollar.

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