Solar Panels Vertical Or Horizontal (Which Orientation Is Best!)

Adding solar panels to your home is an investment that pays off over time. When you’re considering this upgrade, you might find yourself wondering which orientation is better. Should you choose vertical or horizontal?

Solar panels can produce the same amount of power regardless of orientation. Still, you should be strategic with placement. There are pros and cons to both vertical and horizontal layouts.

Some things you need to consider include:

  • the benefits of horizontal orientation solar panels
  • how vertical orientation can benefit your solar panels
  • your roof type for solar panel installation
  • what angle gets the most sunlight

There’s no difference in the output solar panels produce regarding orientation. But there are external factors you’ll want to take into consideration.

Solar Panels On A House Roof Fitted Vertical And Horizontal 1
Solar Panels On A House Roof Fitted Vertical And Horizontal 1

What to Consider with Solar Panel Orientation

Both horizontal and vertical solar panels look nice. They’ll both produce plenty of power for your needs. Some companies recommend a particular method of installation.

This choice depends on the path of the sun, your roof’s pitch, and other factors. Consider your options entirely before you install the solar panels.

Why Horizontal Solar Panels Work

If you have a flat roof, you’ll want to install horizontal panels. This orientation keeps the panels flush against the roof. Vertical panels would stick up higher. 

They would look strange against a flat roof and be at a more extreme angle. Usually, 10 to 40-degrees is the best option.

Weather is something to consider before installing horizontal solar panels. If you live in a climate that gets a lot of snow, you don’t want it sitting on the panels until it melts.

In that case, vertical solar panels would be a better choice because the snow will slide down the panel.

Similarly, if trees that shed leaves or acorns surround your house, you might prefer vertical solar panels. The debris rolls right off of these panels, while it will pile up on horizontal panels.

Even taking trees out of the equation, dirt will build up quickly on horizontal solar panels.

If you install horizontal panels in this type of situation, make sure you clean them off often.

Otherwise, the debris might build up on the panels and restrict how much energy they’re able to produce.

Why Vertical Solar Panels Work

It’s efficient to install solar panels vertically because it gives you more space to work with. Considering the size, you can fit more panels along the railing.

This keeps your installation costs lower. The size, along with a vertical placement, also allows you to utilize more panels. 

This layout means you can install more panels at a lower cost. You’ll recoup the expense quickly since you have more panels soaking up sunlight.

It’s not imperative to install all your panels the same way. If you have space to fit a few extra horizontally, you should do it. It won’t affect your vertical panels in any way.

You’ll get additional power from these panels. Remember that the horizontal ones will take up more space. They also require more hardware to install.

How Your Roof Type Impacts Solar Panel Orientation

The way you position your solar panels can be an aesthetic choice. There are many reasons to choose one method of installation over the other.

You want to make sure it works well with your roof type. You also want to maximize the amount of sunlight your panels receive.

How to Find the Best Method of Installation

You’ll install solar panels on your roof rafters. When you install panels vertically, they use fewer roof rafters to mount.

This cuts down on the roof space covered with solar panels. It also decreases the cost of installation.

Consider the ways you can fit 12 panels on your roof. With the vertical orientation, you can install two rows of six solar panels because they fit in a compact area.

Horizontal panels take up more space, so you’ll most likely need to make three rows of four panels to get 12 on your roof.

It also takes more rafters, rows, and bolts to install horizontal solar panels. Overall, that orientation can cost you more money, even if you still have the space for the same amount of panels that produce the same amount of power.

It’s possible to maintain a longer row of solar panels when you install them vertically across your roof. So not only are you able to fit more into place, you’re not adding as many steel bolts into your roof rafters.

Still, you can install solar panels securely.

If your roof is on a slant, then you’ll want to install them in a vertical or portrait orientation. This allows you to fit more panels into the same area. 

How to Capture the Most Sunlight

The sun shifts in the sky throughout the day, and the position changes with the seasons. Therefore you want to position your solar panels, so they capture the most light. 

In the Northern Hemisphere, your solar panels should face south to get the most sunlight. In the Southern Hemisphere, the panels should orient towards the true north. This gives all panels the most sunlight as the sun travels near the equator.

Depending on your area’s sun exposure, installing solar panels in a horizontal orientation might be your best option. They’ll get more sunlight throughout the day, producing more energy.

However, having flat panels isn’t as crucial if you get a lot of sunlight bounced back from clouds. You can have vertical panels tilted at an angle, so the diffused light reflects off of clouds onto the solar panels.

No matter what, you want to find the orientation that provides your house with the most energy. If this means you should install solar panels horizontally, you should try it. You might prefer the look of vertical panels, but you want to get the most power possible.

Regardless of the look of the panels, you want to install them, so you get the most power from them.

While a vertical orientation saves money in installation, they provide the same amount of energy as horizontal panels.

Ensure that going solar is the right choice for you. After installation, make sure you’re getting the most out of your solar panels.

Keep them clean if you notice dirt or debris on them. Taking care of your solar panel’s guarantees they’ll benefit you greatly.


General Solar Panel FAQ

What Problems Do Solar Panels Solve?

In environmental terms, solar panels can potentially solve a handful of problems, including;
1. Air pollution
2. Water pollution
3. Greenhouse gases
4. Reduction in fossil fuel use

For individuals, solar energy allows you to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to your electricity needs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Are 3 Important Uses Of Solar Panels?

The three most important uses of solar panels are;
1. Solar electricity. This can be used to power almost any appliance in your home, including TVs, computers, and fridges.
2. Lighting. In addition to the use of low-power, LED lightbulbs, solar panels can provide an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly way to provide lighting to homes. 
3. Portable solar. In our modern, always-connected lives, our phones, tablets, and computers are almost always with us, and all run on batteries. Portable PV chargers can help keep our batteries topped up no matter where we are, as long as there is some sun to charge them.

Do solar panels give you free electricity?

Once the cost of the array is paid in full, the energy it produces is free. There are ongoing maintenance costs, too, such as annual panel cleaning, etc. 

How much will my electric bill be with solar panels?

Suppose your solar array includes a solar battery backup system, and it is large enough to fully cover your energy usage per day. In that case, your monthly electric bill will be next to zero dollars, even with a grid-tied system. 

If your solar array does not include a solar battery backup system, then at night, your house or business will use grid electricity. That cost will vary but expect to pay from 1/3-2/3 of your average electric bill, and that cost will fluctuate seasonally. 

Do you save money with solar panels?

The simple answer is, Yes, you save money with solar panels. There is an initial upfront cost, but since solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, you will save money over time. You will also begin to see monthly savings in energy bills, but there are other ways that solar panels pay you back. Those include:
1. Adding value to your home or commercial building 
2. Monthly decreases in energy costs
3. The ability to add more energy appliances without increased monthly costs
4. The potential for tax credits for going solar

Can solar panels power a house 24-7?

Most definitely! Solar panels can certainly power a house 24-7, with the addition of a high-quality inverter and a suitable battery bank, of course. To power, a house under normal usage will require a massive solar array, though, and there will be a very expensive initial financial outlay.

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels?

This depends on where you live, but in most cases, it’s not necessary to inform your energy supplier that you have solar panels. That said, you may be producing excess power with your solar system, in which case you may be able to sell that excess power back to energy companies.

In this case, you’ll naturally need to be in contact with them. 

What Are Solar Cells Known as and Why?

Solar cells are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are called so because the term ‘photovoltaic’ literally means light i.e. photo and electricity i.e. voltaic.

These cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This effect basically causes the generation of free electrons from the semiconducting silicon material of the solar panel when sunlight hits its surface.

What Type of Solar Panels Are Most Efficient and Why?

There are currently three types of solar panels available in the market that are:
1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin-filmed

Among these, monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the most efficient among all others.

Does heat enter your home through the roof?

Absolutely. Heat enters your home through your roof, and on a hot day your attic can get up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Through conduction, heat from the sun warms your roof which then warms your attic and the rest of your home.

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