Solar panels

Solar Panel Angles [Pitched and Flat Roof in the UK]

When fitting solar panels, there are many factors to consider. One of which is the best angle to install them. Of course, it is unlikely that many roofs in the UK will be perfectly positioned.

So, how can you ensure your panels are fitted to yield the optimum amount of power?

What is the best angle for solar panels?

In the UK, the best angle for PVs is 30-40 degrees. This is because the sun is at 50-60 degrees, which in turn creates a 90-degree angle for optimum solar energy production.

The exact angle will vary depending on the location of your home and the position of your roof but generally, this angle will be suitable for most homes. This angle is the best for homes in the South and will vary in different areas of the UK.

The difference between England and Scotland

Where you live in the UK will determine the amount of energy your solar panel will produce. The UK is around 600 miles in length, so it’s no surprise that the climate varies from North to South. In Southern England, 30 degrees is optimal, which increases to around 40 degrees in the Northernmost parts of Scotland.

  • On average, England sees around 62 days of sunshine per year
  • In Scotland, this reduces to 48 days

Why are angles important for the yield of solar panels?

Many factors will make PVs more or less suitable for your circumstances. One of these will be the angle at which your panels are installed. Here are some of the reasons the angle of solar panels is important:

  • The angle will directly impact the effectiveness of the panels
  • In turn, this will affect the financial benefit of PVs
  • Your panels will produce maximum energy when the sun is directly perpendicular to them
  • The optimum angle will depend on latitude. The further away you are from the equator, the higher the tilt angle should be

Whilst the angle will make a significant difference, the benefits of installing PVs will be very clear to you over time. Even decreasing the angle to 5 degrees below optimum will only reduce energy production by around 10%.

What is the best angle for a pitched roof?

Pitched roofs with angles between 30 and 40 degrees will work well in most situations. In an ideal world, all roofs would be already prepared at the perfect angle, but of course, this is not the case. Pitched roofs that do not allow this angle can still have solar panels fitted, and energy will still be generated.

  • A 30-degree angle makes the most of sunlight in the morning and evenings
  • Roofs that fall outside of this range may be fitted with brackets to tilt the panels more effectively
  • Solar panels that sit at a lower angle will not be able to self-clean as effectively causing a build-up of dirt
  • The angle of your roof has less impact than the direction it faces

What is the best angle for a flat roof?

Houses come in all shapes and sizes; this includes roofs. If your home has a flat roof, you can still enjoy the benefits of solar panels. PVs will be fitted at a lower angle which will be around 10 – 25 degrees.

A tilted mounting system will be installed to create the best angle, without the angle being too harsh.

This will help to:

  • Reduce the impact of wind
  • Reduce the distance between panels
  • Maximise sunlight at all points of the day
  • Ensure the rain can run off the panels to keep them clean

It is important to note that you need to generate enough energy for your household needs. In many cases, excess energy can be sold back to the National Grid.

What is the best angle for solar panels for the winter and summer?

For PVs, the biggest impact on the production of energy is exposure to sunlight. As the seasons roll around, the number of hours of sunlight we experience will decrease.

The Summer solstice (when the sun is at its highest altitude) and Winter Solstice (when the sun is at its lowest altitude) are a good indication of sunlight hours and intensity of sunlight. The angle of your solar panels can be changed to capitalise on this. Generally, the optimum angle can be calculated by:

  • 90 – [your latitude] + 23 (winter)
  • 90 – [your latitude] – 23 (summer)

For example, London is around 51 degrees latitude. This means that solar panels would be best to sit at a 62-degree angle in winter and 16-degree angle in summer:

Get quotes from solar panel installers

To ensure your solar panels are optimised, they should be fitted by professional solar panel installers. They will check if your roof is suitable and answer any questions you have. Get quotes today to find the best deals for you.