The angle of your roof is also called the pitch. Pitch affects the power solar panels produce because it changes their orientation to the sun.
Optimal solar energy production occurs when sunlight hits solar panels at a right angle. If the sun is directly overhead, optimal production will occur with a solar panel that is horizontal. If the sun is on the horizon, optimal production will occur if the solar panel is vertical.
Utility-scale ground-mounted solar systems may use tracking systems to track the sun. This is unnecessary for most residential and commercial buildings. Most of our customers receive fixed-tilt systems.
In a fixed-tilt system, the solar array’s position never changes. Typical residential systems are mounted flush with the angle of the roof. This practice is done for aesthetics and to maximize the amount of area of the roof that is utilized. This is why roof pitch affects solar energy production.
For solar panels that are fixed in place, the optimal tilt is equal to the latitude of the location, oriented south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere. For example, the latitude in Miami is 25 degrees north, so the optimal configuration for solar panels in Miami would be facing south and tilted 25 degrees from horizontal.
The further from the equator, the more important it is for solar panels to be oriented optimally because the swing of the sun between winter and summer greatest at the poles. Because Florida is not far from the equator, many tilts and orientations are still highly productive. Installing panels facing east, west or flat will generally result in 90% of optimal production. In Florida, any roof that doesn’t face north can be a good candidate for solar. However, to be sure, we always use Helioscope software to predict your solar power production based on your roof’s configuration, shading, local weather conditions, and other factors.