Most of the worldâ€™s solar panels are facing the wrong direction
J Thoendell stashed this in Home
Most installers of solar panels, especially the ones for homes, follow conventional wisdom handed down from architects, which holds that in the northern hemisphere,Â windows and solar panels should face south.
This makes intuitive sense since it would seem to maximize the amount of sunlight a panel will get as the sun tracks from one horizon to the other. But it isnâ€™t true, at least according toÂ a single study of homes in Austin, Texas. TheÂ Pecan Street Research InstituteÂ found that homeowners who aimed their panels toward the west, instead of the south, generated 2% more electricity over the course of a day.
More importantly, those west-facing panels reduced household electricity usage during the times when electricity is most expensiveâ€”and power grids are most likely to become overloadedâ€”by 65%, while south-facing panels only reduced usage during those times by 54%. In Texas, as in most places, those â€śpeak timesâ€ť are from 3pm to 7pm, and correspond with the heat of the day.