In Australia and New Zealand, Solar panels are the most efficient and produce the most electricity when facing true North. However, installing solar panels on a South facing roof is still possible. For example, a standard 23-degree pitch roof pointing South in Sydney can still generate 60% of the electricity of a perfectly North-facing roof.
The angle of the sun and the intensity of light hitting the panel affects the amount of electricity produced. On a South facing roof, less electricity will be produced in winter. With most electricity being produced in the summer.
This makes it an excellent option to cover summer electricity demands like air-conditioning and pool heating. However, knowing the limitations and engaging with a qualified local supplier or installer for advice and assistance is important.
What is wrong with south facing solar panels?
Not every roof benefits from being in a location with direct sunlight or where the panels face in the ideal direction. Being true North. This creates hesitation for owners of homes with less than ideal roof direction to consider solar. They simply don’t know if investing in a solar system is even worth it. So do solar panels need direct sunlight to work, and is it worthwhile to install south facing solar panels?
Can panels be installed on a southern roof?
While solar panels are the most efficient and produce the most electricity when they are North-facing (in Australia and New Zealand), they work on a Southern-facing roof. For example, a standard 23-degree pitch roof pointing South in Sydney can still generate 60% of the solar electricity of a perfectly North-pointing roof. So when your roof is tight and you need the largest solar system, installing south facing solar panels is an option.
How do panels work on a south facing roof?
The more direct the sun is pointing towards the solar panel (e.g. directly above the sky at 90 degrees to the panel). Therefore, the panel will generate more power as the light hitting the panel is more intense; however, as that angle increases during the day or season. For instance, in the late afternoon, the intensity of light decreases due to the angle at which it directly hits the panel.
Similarly, for south facing solar panels. The sun’s angle (particularly in winter) to the panel is lower; for some parts of the day, little direct sunlight will hit the panels.
Hence, the overall sunlight hitting the panel decreases. Therefore the panel will produce less electricity. However, in summer, when the sun is further south, the sun will be pointing more directly over the panel and perform well. This is applicable for many hours of the day.
On a south facing roof, you will find that much less electricity will be produced in the winter months. South facing solar panels can be an excellent option to cover summer electricity demands. This includes appliances like air-conditioning and pool heating or pumping.
What the future will hold
So you need to be aware of the limitations, but our predictions will be that in future years. Homeowners will use the maximum solar system to cover EV charging. As well as generating hot water via electricity, e.g. heat pumps.