Optimising Solar Panel Positioning for Maximum Energy Production in the UK

Optimising Solar Panel Positioning for Maximum Energy Production in the UK

  • George Dobritoiu

The global push towards renewable energy has placed solar panels front and centre as a feasible and sustainable solution for power generation. With the summer season approaching, the importance of solar panel positioning becomes amplified due to the changing path of the sun. As the sun traces a higher arc in the sky during summer, it offers an excellent opportunity to maximise solar energy collection in the UK.

Understanding Solar Angles

The foundation for successful solar energy generation lies in understanding solar angles. Solar angles represent the angles at which sunlight strikes your solar panels. The two primary solar angles are the azimuth angle, which pertains to the sun's direction in relation to true north, and the altitude angle, indicating the sun's height in the sky.

The summer sun boasts a high altitude angle, reaching its peak in the sky. This high altitude angle is the reason summer presents a prime period for solar energy production in the UK.

Optimal Positioning

Given the UK's location in the northern hemisphere, the optimal direction for solar panels is true south. This south-facing direction capitalises on the sun's movement, which rises in the east and sets in the west. With your solar panels facing true south, they will capture the maximum sunlight as the sun traverses the sky.

However, the direction is only one part of positioning; the tilt angle of your solar panels is equally critical. The tilt angle, or the angle at which your solar panels are set relative to the ground, affects the amount of sunlight they receive. In summer, when the sun's altitude angle is high, a lower tilt angle optimises sunlight capture. A common rule of thumb is to set your tilt angle at your latitude minus 15 degrees for maximum summer energy production.

In the UK, most locations have a latitude between 50 to 60 degrees, so setting your solar panels at an angle between 35 to 45 degrees would be optimal during the summer months. However, this rule may vary slightly based on local weather patterns and the specific characteristics of your installation site.

Regular Maintenance and Monitoring

Proper maintenance of your solar panels is crucial, even after you've achieved optimal positioning. Regular maintenance ensures that no obstructions like dust, leaves, or shadows hinder your solar panels' efficiency. Regular cleaning aids in eliminating these obstructions, maintaining your solar panels at their peak efficiency.

Moreover, continuous monitoring is crucial as the sun's path changes slightly each day. Investing in an automatic tracking system could be beneficial if manual adjustment of the solar panels isn't practical. These tracking systems shift the panels throughout the day, ensuring they are always optimally angled to the sun.

Local Regulations and Considerations

While optimising your solar panels for maximum energy production, it's important to keep local regulations and building codes in mind. Some areas in the UK may have restrictions on the height, size, or location of solar panel installations. Always consult with local authorities or a solar installation expert to ensure your solar array complies with all regulations.


The efficiency of your solar panels significantly depends on their positioning. As we move into the summer months, understanding the sun's trajectory and adjusting your panels accordingly can significantly boost your energy production. Remember, the direction is crucial, but the tilt angle of your panels plays an equally vital role.

Maintaining your panels and regular monitoring will ensure your solar setup remains efficient, allowing you to make the most of the UK's summer sun.

Harnessing the power of the sun is not merely about contributing to a more sustainable future; it's also about effectively utilising the resources available to us. With strategic positioning of your solar panels, you are one step closer to maximising renewable energy production and creating a greener UK.


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