Does Your Roof Need to Face South for Solar?

East- and West-Facing Roofs are Great for Solar

We all know south-facing roofs are the best option for installing solar, but what if your roof does not face south? What if the south side of your roof is shaded or at a bad angle?

Don’t worry. A southern orientation is not crucial for a solar installation. East- or west-facing roofs are also great candidates for solar.

Even though the sun shines from the south, the east and west sides of a roof are exposed to significant amounts of sunlight throughout the day. In fact, east- and west-facing solar panels can produce 80% as much electricity as south-facing solar panels.

What this means is that with a small increase in the number of solar panels on your roof, your east- or west-facing solar panels can produce just as much electricity as a south-facing solar panels. 

When is East-Facing Solar a Better Option?

The best strategy for solar production is to produce electricity when you need it. This means that sometimes a south-facing roof is not the best option for solar panels. This can be the case for households or businesses that see high electricity use early in the day.

As businesses or households start flipping switches to turn on lights and equipment and start powering up computers and other machinery, their energy consumption can quickly ramp up. This is the time when solar could help cover their energy demands.

For these consumers, early-morning energy production from the east or southeast-facing solar panels is a good option. East-facing solar panels can take advantage of the early-morning sun and start producing electricity earlier than south-facing solar panels. 

When is West-Facing Solar a Better Option?

As stated above, the best strategy for solar is to produce energy when you need it most. For many households, their highest energy demands come in the evening. As families get home from work and school, they start turning on lights, televisions, microwaves, washers, and dryers, and their energy consumption skyrockets.

To meet these late-evening energy demands, it can sometimes be a good strategy to have solar panels that face west or southwest to take advantage of the evening sun.

Designing your solar system to produce electricity in the evening can also help avoid Time-Of-Use (TOU) utility rates. TOU rates charge more for energy used during peak demand periods, often in the evening when households are ramping up their energy usage.

With west and southwest-facing solar installations, solar panels can produce electricity when TOU rates are highest and help reduce energy bills. 

Click on the map of solar farms in Texas and solar farms in California to search for locations.

Author: Tim Deters

Bio: Tim Deters is a content manager for Green Ridge Solar. Tim’s background is in journalism and renewable energy, which he uses to convey important facts and information about solar and renewable energy. Tim is known for his silent nature and owning more plants than he has space.