When having solar panels installed on your property, you must first decide which direction they should be facing in order to best take advantage of the sun.

In Ireland, south facing solar panels will provide the most electricity throughout the day. This is because here in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is to the south of us.

However, for some households, east-west facing solar panels can also be a great option.

Understanding orientation is vitally important before installing solar PV panels – so let’s explore it in more detail.

Why should solar panels face south in Ireland?

Solar photovoltaic panels work by converting sunlight into electricity, so it makes sense that you want them to get as much sunlight as possible.

Solar panels will work no matter which direction they are facing, but for homes in the Northern Hemisphere, when facing south they will be getting more sunlight throughout the day.

Should all solar panels face south?

Depending on your needs and the shape of your roof, it might be useful to place one or more solar panels on the east or west side of the roof, rather than south.

While south facing solar PV panels will produce more electricity over the course of the day, any panels on the east or west sides of the roof will be more effective in the morning and evening.

It is not worth it to install north facing solar panels in Ireland, as they will have a drastically reduced power output.

Why should Solar Panels face south in Ireland

When do you need the most electricity?

When deciding what direction your solar panels should be facing, an important question to ask is when will be using the most electricity?

An East-West orientation will, as already stated, provide the most electricity in the morning and evening times, while a South facing orientation will provide more power overall, spread throughout the day.

Hot Water

If you want to make hot water using a solar thermal system, or a power-diverter with solar PV panels, then having east facing panels will be ideal.

This will give you the most power during the morning to heat water to start off your day.

Work Hours

For household solar panels, if the home is going to be empty most of the day while the occupants are at work, or otherwise out, it might not be the most useful to have that power going to waste.

Things which Help/Harms the Effectiveness of Solar Panels

Best Roof Types for Solar Panels

The type of roof on your home will impact how your solar panels will be directed and angled. Solar mounting systems allow solar panels to be places on almost any surface.

Flat Roof for Solar Panels

On a flat roofed property, solar panels can be directed in basically any direction, giving you the most options to choose from.

It could benefit you to have them facing several directions, with some facing east to get a boost in the morning, and others facing south.

On a flat roofed property solar panels can be directed in basically any direction

Pitched Roof for Solar Panels

On a pitched roof solar panels can only be placed in the direction any given side is facing, which will limit your choices, but there are still things to keep in mind.

Fortunately, the angle of most pitched roofs is close to what is ideal for solar panels in Ireland anyways.

On a pitched roof solar panels can only be placed in the direction any given side is facing

Does Shade Affect Solar Panels

Whatever direction you choose to have your solar panels facing, they need to be unobstructed, with no obstacles blocking the sunshine.

If there are trees, hills, or larger buildings overshadowing the roof, it will at the very least reduce the effectiveness and energy output of your solar panels.

Solar Panel Angle

In Ireland the ideal angle for solar panels is at between 30° and 40° from the horizontal to give the best performance year round.

ideal angle for solar panels is at between 30° and 40° from the horizontal

Selling Surplus Electricity

A big change in the solar power landscape in Ireland in recent times has been the ability to sell excess electricity generated by solar PV panels back to the grid.

Thanks to the Micro-Generation Support Scheme, from 2022 people with home solar can get paid by their utility company for their surplus power.

Whether you want to simply cut down on your own electricity bills, store power using a battery system, or sell excess energy back to the grid to pay back the installation cost quicker is something to keep in mind when selecting the layout of your array.

sell surplus solar energy back to the electricity grid

Do solar panels work in Ireland?

Despite what people might think, Solar panels work just fine in Ireland, with more than enough sunlight to generate electricity year round.

They are most definitely worth it as a home investment, paying off the installation cost in approximately 6 – 10 years, and generating free electricity for the rest of their 25 – 30 lifespan.

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Briain Kelly

RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCHER

Briain Kelly is a Leinster based journalist and content creator who has been writing about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for nearly three years. He researches the latest news in multiple areas related to solar power, electric vehicles, heat pumps, and home energy upgrades. His writing includes both technological developments and government policy.

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