The price of solar energy has been steadily dropping over the years making it more and more feasible for regular people to install them on their rooftops. The benefits are that you use more energy from a cleaner source and as a result you cut your electric bills considerably. It turns out though that we had it all wrong in how we were installing those solar panels. The convention in the northern hemisphere has always been to angle the panels facing towards the south because generally speaking that is the direction that sees the most sunlight throughout the day. Well a new paper from the Pecan Street Research Institute has found that the conventional alignment is not the best way to do it. It turns out that pointing solar panels to the west towards the setting sun is a far better way to point them due to the way in which most of us live our lives.
The reason why is pretty simple. Generally speaking the time of day when a house consumes the most electricity is during late afternoon and early evening. Demand decreases in the middle of the night when we’re sleeping and during typical business hours during the week because no one is home then. A south facing solar panel generates most of its electricity exactly at a time when we’re least likely to be around to use it while a west facing panel can keep generating energy when we’re most likely to be using it. This study confirms that by reveling that south facing panels reduce peak energy demand by 54 percent while west facing panels reduce it by 65 percent. So there is a great tip if you’re thinking of installing solar panels. Pointing them west will make the greatest impact towards doing right by the planet and by your wallet.
West is best.
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