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solar calculator - right angle and position for installation
Tilt and Angle Orientation of Solar Panels and solar collectors
or solar collectors must be
installed pointing to the right
direction to capture
most of the sun energy to transform in
electricity or heat. The position can be a
position-fixed or seasonally adjusted,
and must face the true south in the Northern
Hemisphere, or the true north in the
The solar panels or solar collectors must be tilted from the horizontal to a degree equal to the latitude where they are installed, plus 15 degrees in the winter, or minus 15 degrees in the summer.
The winter season has the least sun available, so you want to make the most of it. The tilt should be designed so that the panel points directly to the sun at noon. To calculate the right angle, multiply the latitude by 0.9, and add 29 degrees. For example: New York is at 40 degrees. 40 X .9 + 29 = 65 degrees tilt from horizontal.
Below is a list of cities and their latitudes. Use the calculator to determine the right angle and position, for the solar panels, or solar collectors installation, based on your location.
Solar Seasons and Adjustable or Fixed Installation
You can order a fix or adjustable
base or frame to install your solar
panels or solar collectors to adjust manually
the angle as needed. Angle adjustment should be made
Tilt angle: spring and autumn -
latitude minus 2.5°.
If the installation does not allow tilt adjustments, it should be installed for the winter .
You can learn more about how the solar module or solar collector installation angle affect the solar panels or solar collectors performance.
Select a location from the City pull down menu, OR select "Enter Lat/Long" from the pull down menu, and manually enter the latitude, longitude and time zone information in the appropriate text boxes. For this calculator, latitude is positive to the NORTH, and longitude is positive to the WEST of the prime meridian.
Latitude and Longitude can be in deg/min/sec, or decimal degrees entered in the "Deg:" field. (If you enter decimal degrees in the degrees field, please clear the minutes and seconds fields, or they will be added in.) If you select a city from the pull down menu, the latitude, longitude and time zone fields will be filled in by the program. If you want to input latitude, longitude or time zone manually, be sure to select "Enter Lat/Long" from the City pull down box, or your numbers will be overwritten by the selected city's location.
You can enter a different time zone for a location by selecting "Enter Lat/Long" in the City pull down box. Otherwise the time zone associated with the selected city's Local Standard Time will be automatically entered. Selecting "Yes" in the Daylight Saving field will cause the solar position calculation to assume the current time has been adjusted forward one hour from standard time. If you are uncertain of the time zone for a location, refer to our Time Zone Table.
The program retrieves the current date and time from your computer, and fills in these values in the date/time fields. To perform calculations for a different date, simply select the month in the pull down box, and enter the day and four digit year in the appropriate input boxes. Time of day for the calculation can be changed in the same way.
Hit the "Calculate Solar Position" button. Once the calculations are complete, you may use your browser's "Print" function to obtain a hardcopy of the results. Results are given in the following units: Equation of Time in minutes of time; Solar Declination in degrees, with positive to the north; Azimuth in degrees clockwise from north; Elevation in degrees up from the horizon; Cosine of Solar Zenith Angle is unit less.
Note that for latitudes greater than 72° north or less than 72° south, accuracy may be lower due in part to the effects of atmospheric refraction.