solar angle

27 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 02:42 pm
solar angle

I am repositioning my panels and would like to set them at the proper angle for DECEMBER 21 2008,I guess that would be my best bet for most of the seasons seeing that is when the sun is lowest in the sky.
is there a solar calculator out there somewhere or does anyone know what angle to set my panels
the area I live at is

Latt.   41.91
Long     71.8739

The sun angle on the above date is 24.8 degrees  Solar NOON altitude)

DO I take the sum of Latt and solar noon alt and place my panels around 66 degrees Huh
ANY Help Please
Thank You
184 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 03:01 pm
Re: solar angle

The wattsun website has some tools you can use for this purpose.

27 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 03:32 pm
Re: solar angle

Thanks John,
That sure helps
163 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 03:36 pm
Re: solar angle


I use this Navy site to adjust mine.

27 Posts
Oct 1, 2008 04:21 pm
Re: solar angle

I also found a site that says to add 10 to 15 degrees to your latitude for winter use  so my lat. is 42 degrees north plus 10 to 15 degrees so I guess somewhere around 57 degrees is best
Thanks to all
5 Posts
Nov 7, 2008 03:40 pm
Re: solar angle

i have a yahoo widget that calculates solar angle and all that cool stuff, if you use yahoo widgets.
578 Posts
Nov 7, 2008 05:25 pm
Re: solar angle

latitude tilt angle for all year average,

winter, latitude + 15 degrees

summer latitude - 15 degrees

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Nov 8, 2008 03:27 pm
Re: solar angle

It will take a year to get the results but once you have them you can tune in your PV array to your exact location with two simple items; one is an angle finder and the other is a block of 2"x4"x12" cut square at both ends. You can check once a month or check it on the solstices and equinoxes or when ever you want.
At 12:00 noon on the day you want to know the perfect angle, hold the block of 2"x4" too the face of the PV array, adjust the array until there is no shadow any where around the block, then just hold the angle finder to it and there you have it. Of course you may want to write it down somewhere or maybe drill set holes in the adjuster legs or something. This all depends on the PV array facing solar south during the winter solstice. On the shortest day of the year in my region at 12:00 my block doesn't cast a shadow but at 12:00 on the longest day this doesn't happen until 1:30 which fine because there is still lots of daylight left.

Or you could just dispense with all of it like I do and once a month adjust the array so that there is a slight shadow on the top side of the 2"x4" block of wood or bottom if progressing from winter to spring and then summer again. This assures that the sun is coming in perpendicular to the array as the month progresses. Its a chore but one that I like doing because it also gives me a chance to clean and inspect the array and array mount and all. So far so good.
462 Posts
Nov 9, 2008 10:24 am
Re: solar angle

Thomas, good, simple of those toy, lick and stick darts for dart guns works good too.....or any similar small rod attached to the panel....right on with drilling set holes too...another easy solution for seasonal adjustments...
« Last Edit: Nov 9, 2008 10:26 am by Tom Mayrand »
462 Posts
Nov 9, 2008 10:41 am
Re: solar angle

Rene, you live at 42 deg. N, so, 15 deg. either way gives you, 57 and 27 deg. The angle you are concerned with is the angle between the panel and the horizontal ground using the spot where the panel touches the ground as the vertex.
 So if your panel is standing vertical on the ground, lean the panel back until it makes an angle of 42 deg with the ground below it. This will be the spring and fall location. Then it only makes sense after that. In the winter, raise the panel by rotating it up another 15 deg. towards vertical, until it makes an angle of 57 deg. with the ground. In the summer, rotate it more towards the horizontal, until it is 27 deg. with the ground. 
 But as others have noted, if the rack is easily adjustable just adjust monthly or weekly as needed.
27 Posts
Nov 9, 2008 06:13 pm
Re: solar angle

Thanks for all the help.
I like the idea of the dart stuck on the panel.
My panels are currently set for winter ( a little early )
The best thing is almost weekly I see an improvement in output and now that the leaves have all fallen off the trees I see a big change. Wish I didn't have to contend with trees but until I have a site evaluation done I'm stuck between a rock and a hard spot.
Just about any location I place the panels will get a little shading at some point during the day and season.
Not the best set up but it is what it is.
I just have to find the absolute best location that will give me the most, and preferably in the winter when if we do loose power I can still run my pellet stove and keep warm.
I can always throw food outside in the cold to keep it frozen if I had to.
And in the summer I can just run the fridge and live with a little heat.Just got to break down and pay the $ 70.00 for the site Evaluation.

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