Most people believe that solar panels have to be directed to the south, but that is not always necessary or better. Solar panels can be placed in the field in various ways. The trick is to choose the most optimal set-up. The wishes differ per customer, per location and per desired situation. The goal is therefore often to generate as much solar energy as possible and to use as much field surface as possible. Solar panels in east-west setup often offer a surprising result.
If you only look at the yield per square meter of solar panels, directing panels to the south is indeed the best. But besides looking at the yield per solar panel, you can also look at the maximum yield per square meter of field. Because the solar panels are not ideally arranged (so not directed south) the average yield per solar panel is somewhat lower. But the total revenue will be much higher.
Smaller inverter required
A field set-up in east-west direction is preferred because the distribution of energy during the day is better. If it is summer, the sun rises in the north-east and sets in the north-west. The result of a better distribution of energy throughout the day is that a smaller inverter can be chosen, because in an east-west configuration, all solar panels will not have to work a 100% at the same time. And the distribution of the energy yield is therefore more even. This is because the solar panels also absorb a lot of energy even when it is cloudy. Direct irradiation is therefore not necessarily necessary. There is an additional advantage of an east-west setup: due to the low angle and the symmetrical arrangement, the wind has much less influence on the solar panels..
30% more solar panels
With a conventional south set-up, space is kept free between the rows of solar panels. This happens to prevent the first row of panels blocking the sun on the row behind it. In an east-west arrangement, the rows of panels can be placed almost against each other. This allows up to 30% more solar panels to be placed in a field.
Advantages east-west field set-up:
- More even energy yield
- The highest energy yield per square meter of field
- Lower arrangement so that the wind has less control over it
Disadvantage east-west field set-up:
- The solar panels can get dirty a bit faster