What we consider when designing your solar system

One size certainly doesn’t fit all when it comes to installing solar panels on your home

Every property is unique. So, to ensure you get the most out of your solar investment, we take a tailored approach to designing your solar system. Our personalised design process considers three key factors: the slope of your roof, the orientation of your property and your location within the UK. By carefully assessing these elements, we can create a solar system that maximises energy production and efficiency to provide you with the best possible return on your investment.

In this article, we’ll explore each of these factors in detail, explaining why they’re crucial to your solar system’s performance and how we use this information to design a system that’s perfect for your home.

The slope of your roof

The slope – or pitch – of your roof plays a significant role in how effectively your solar panels can capture sunlight. It affects how much direct sunlight the panels receive throughout the day and across different seasons. When sunlight strikes the panels at a perpendicular angle, they generate the most electricity. If the angle is too steep or too shallow, some of the sunlight will be reflected away, reducing the panels’ efficiency.

In the UK, the ideal roof pitch for solar panels is between 30° and 35°. This range allows for optimal sunlight capture throughout the year, balancing the sun’s lower winter position with its higher summer arc. However, don’t worry if your roof doesn’t fall within this exact range – solar panels can still be effective on roofs with slopes between 15° and 50°. They just won’t be as efficient.

For roofs that fall outside the optimal range, we can use adjustable mounting systems. These allow us to position your panels at the ideal angle, regardless of your roof’s pitch. This solution is particularly useful for flat roofs or those with very shallow slopes. And if your roof isn’t suitable for solar panels due to its slope or other factors, we can explore ground-mounted solar arrays as an alternative. These systems can be positioned at the perfect angle and orientation for maximum energy production.

The orientation of your property

The direction your roof faces is another crucial factor in solar system design. The orientation of your panels affects how much sunlight they receive throughout the day and how consistently they generate electricity.

In the UK, south-facing roofs are generally considered the best for solar panels, as they receive the most consistent sunlight throughout the day. However, southeast and southwest-facing roofs are also excellent options, often producing only 5%-10% less energy than their south-facing counterparts. If your property doesn’t have a suitable south-facing roof, we can design a split system with east and west-facing panels. This arrangement can provide more balanced energy production throughout the day, with peak generation in the morning and afternoon.

For flat roofs or ground-mounted systems, we can use adjustable mounts that allow the panels to track the sun’s movement throughout the day. While more complex and costly, these systems can significantly increase energy production.

Your location in the UK

Your geographical location within the UK is the third key factor we consider. The amount of sunlight your property receives can vary significantly depending on where you live. The UK’s latitude means that the sun’s position in the sky changes dramatically between summer and winter. Your also location affects the angle at which sunlight reaches your panels and the number of daylight hours you receive throughout the year.

Generally, the south of England receives more sunlight than the north of Scotland. Counties along the south coast typically get between 1,000 and 1,100 hours of sunshine per year, while parts of Scotland might only see 750 hours on average. However, this doesn’t mean solar isn’t viable in northern regions – it just requires careful system design.

We choose solar panels that perform well in your specific climate. For areas with less direct sunlight, we might recommend high-efficiency panels that can make the most of the available light. We might also suggest a more extensive system to ensure you generate enough electricity for your needs. Conversely, in sunnier regions, a smaller system might suffice.

The amount of sunlight your property receives can play a crucial role in how quickly you can recoup the costs of installing a solar system. Areas that receive more average sunshine hours – like East Anglia, the South East, and the South West – can generally break even on a typical installation within nine years, compared to 11 or 12 years for properties in less sunny areas like Scotland and the North East.

Maximising the benefits of your solar installation

Designing your ideal solar system involves carefully balancing these three factors to create a system that generates the most energy possible for your specific situation. We use advanced modelling software to simulate how different designs will perform throughout the year, allowing us to fine-tune your system for optimal performance.

If your roof has limited space or isn’t ideally oriented, we can use high-efficiency panels that generate more electricity per square metre. These panels can help maximise energy production, even with space constraints. For properties in less sunny or partially shaded locations, we use micro-inverters or power optimisers. These technologies allow each panel to operate independently, minimising the impact of shade on your system’s overall performance.

Whatever your situation, a thorough, professional site assessment is crucial for designing the most effective solar system for your home. Our experienced technicians will visit your property to assess these key factors in person, take precise measurements and identify any potential challenges or opportunities for your installation.

How can Electrical Innovations help? 

If you’re considering solar energy for your home, we can help you take the next step. Even if you think your property might not be ideal for solar panels, our design expertise and modern technology can often find solutions to overcome challenges.

A well-designed and installed solar system can reduce your energy bills, decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future. So, if you’re ready to invest in solar, give us a call. From solar PV panels to battery storage systems, we can design the best system to help you harness the power of sustainable energy. To find out more and get a free, no-obligation consultation and quote, contact us today.