What direction do solar panels usually point?

What direction do solar panels usually point? North? East? South? West?

13 Responses to What direction do solar panels usually point?

  1. SolarBerg says:

    Oh wow, please ignore approx 50% of the answers here. We live off-grid and solar is my business. If you are in North America, they should face SOUTH. The comment about them facing the equator is accurate.

    What has not been said though, is the angle they should be at. For optimal sun exposure, the angle from horizontal for the panel should be equal to your latitude. So if you live in Colorado for example, at approximately 40 degrees latitude, your panel should be at 40 degrees from horizontal.

  2. roderick_young says:

    The general answer is toward the equator, so south when the array is north of the Tropic of Cancer, and north when south of the Tropic of Capricorn. In the equatorial zone, one would often still point towards the equator, but other factors such as wanting the panels to efficiently drain rain and dew come into play.

    But wait, not so fast. Financial considerations dominate in some areas. When afternoon electricity costs more than morning electricity, it may pay to have panels oriented southwest in the northern hemisphere. Where electricity costs the same all day long, it may pay to orient the panels southeast, to harvest more in the morning, when temperatures are cooler, and the panels are more efficient.

    For solar hot water, SW is usually optimal in the northern hemisphere, because of higher ambient temperatures, and also the usage pattern of most people using the hot water when they get home in the evening.

    A local installer that has been around for several years will know what orientation is optimal for your area.

  3. aviophage says:

    I can’t believe how many people posted wrong answers to this. Where are they looking? What are they thinking?

    In the northern hemisphere, solar panels are ALWAYS oriented due south. In the southern hemisphere, face them due north.

    I am typing on a computer that is running on a solar electric system that supplies my whole house. Been this way for years. So it works.

  4. korvosiaay says:

    At the sun!!

  5. Daniel B says:

    The people who said South are correct as long as you are in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, you would point them North.

  6. Doc89891 says:

    South in the northern hemisphere. – this gives you sunlight on the panel a major portion of the day without the need for a mechanism to follow the sun or change direction from E to S to W as the day progresses

  7. runic111 says:

    They receive the most sun pointing south, the guy above me is correct. Go outside at noon and look towards the sun, that is south.

  8. Kassidy says:

    True south
    in the direction that captures the most sun

  9. Geoff G says:

    South. That way they receive the maximum sunlight during the day.

    So many wrong answers — most people don’t know accurate compass directions!

  10. Todd says:

    West is first choice, southwest is acceptable.

  11. Lisa says:

    They point North East. I see them all the time in my neighborhood.

  12. fallgrl01 says:


  13. Hari S says:

    East and West

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