Solar south vs. compass south

One of the most important details for installing a solar system is to determine the location of solar south.  Solar panels should be oriented toward the solar south in order to maximize power generation.

Solar south is not the same as true south, so you need to calculate the difference between true south and solar south for your location.

There are different methods of finding solar south.  Here are two of them:

The easiest method is the Solar Noon Method, which relies on the fact that the sun is always due south at solar noon.  First you have to determine your sunrise and sunset times from a current local paper.  Solar noon is exactly half way between these two times.  It’s important to get the current and local times because they change from day to day and site to site.  Now, place a vertical object in the location where you anticipate placing your solar panels.  At precisely solar noon in your location the shadow will cast in the solar north-south direction. 

The other method is the Compass Method.  Before you read the compass it must be corrected for the magnetic declination in your area.  The magnetic declination is the difference in degrees between magnetic and true north.    You correct true south by the calculated number of degrees of declination.

After finding solar south you’ll know where to position your solar panels for a best performance.

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