American solar companies most likely have been installing solar panels facing the wrong way for years, or have they?

In continuing with our previous post, “American solar companies most likely have been installing solar panels facing the wrong way for years”, we are continuing this entry with the appropriate question:  Are they?  To recap our earlier post, solar installation companies in the US have been installing fixed solar array systems on rooftops and ground sites in a south-sloping direction.  There are tracking systems that move with the path of the sun during the day, but for fixed systems, the orientation has typically been southward.  What has been observed of late is that perhaps (in the northern hemisphere) the optimum location for fixed solar arrays should be on west-facing slopes and orientation.  Why?  Because as utility companies have indicated, the maximum usage occurs in the afternoons.  This is both true and untrue.

Sun path in the northern hemisphere.
Sun path during solstices in the northern hemisphere. Image courtesy of

True in that yes, during the summer months in historically hotter climates, the use of air conditioners and after-work applications (think of getting off work at 5, going home and turning the air on full-blast to cool off your home for the evening hours) spikes, thus causing a massive drain on the utility grid system.  So, by orienting rooftop solar panels on west-facing roofs, homeowners are adding that extra energy to the grid; thus easing the demand from local utilities.

But here is the kicker, the big false.  Okay, for certain regions and during a span of say, 4 months out of the year, the west-facing panels hold their validity.  But, what about the rest of the year in the rest of the northern hemisphere?  Think of it this way, when you (metaphorically speaking, of course) get off work at 5 in October (through April), the sun is close to setting (or already has set), it is cooler outside and in your home; thus almost eliminating the drain on the grid that occurs during the summer months.  So, your panels are facing west in December and will only produce energy from say 1 p.m. to about 4:15 p.m.  But you have missed out on the electricity generation from 7:15 to 1 p.m.  And this is a pattern that will happen for most of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  So, you, as a homeowner of a valuable electricity generator on your rooftop, have lost out in producing viable energy on an annual scale.

Beta.ey Rooftop solar collector.
Beta.ey rooftop solar collector, the ultimate solar tracker. Image courtesy of

Now, to go even further, if (better yet, when) you decide to bank your energy in battery systems, then you will realize that you have arranged your solar panels in the worst possible direction as it was directed to you by the local utility companies.  It is to your benefit to position your panels to the south.  Technology will change and highly efficient rechargeable battery systems will come into our scope in the near future (they already are, it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your home).  What does this mean?  Eventually you will be able to go off grid for your electricity usage and gain your autonomy as a homeowner.  Sure, businesses will probably continue to stay tied to the grid.  Which is fine.  What we are talking about here is what is known as Appropriate Technology.  Use what is appropriate to your specific location and to what is within your means.  In years past they said that the future is tomorrow.  Well, now the future is today.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Solar path lights.
Solar path lights, the economical and easy solution to garden lighting. Image courtesy of



Juicebar Pocket Solar Charger

This stylish, sleek and reliable pocket size Universal Battery Charger (Juicebar Solar Charger) is proven to be your best friend in a situation when conventional electric supply is not available or if you are trying to use eco-friendly renewable power supplies.
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Solar Garden Lights

SOLAR PATH LIGHTS. Stainless Steel Conical Solar Path Light (Set of 2). Path solar lights are an excellent choice for lighting your garden paths, walkways, driveway perimeters and other regions in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk. Featured Stainless Steel Solar Light set uses 2 ultra-bright LEDs for maximum light output and minimum battery usage. The lights are safe around kids and pets and water and corrosion resistant. Read more HERE 


Stone Solar Spot Lights (also known as Solar Rock Lights) completely camouflage with existing landscapes and look like any other rock in your garden.

Green Gardener Corner

How to start using ecologically friendly energy to power up your garden fountains and other garden water features?
Why not go with a solar powered water pump?
To accommodate your needs the Solar Fountain Pump Systems we carry range from 2 to 8 Watt. Browse our collection of solar water pumps for your fish ponds and solar fountains.
Enjoy your garden water features and your energy savings at the same time. Make a note of the various power levels and the flow rate of the solar water pumps before your purchase.
Please write us your review after your purchase. Your opinion is important to us! 


Stone Cylinder Solar Path Lights (Set of 2).
See how easy it is to install a solar light. No wiring required!
In this particular case a ground fastener and a stake are included for quick and easy installation. Read more HERE

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