To maximize sun exposure and electricity generation during peak times, solar panels installed in the northern hemisphere shouldn't face south, as conventional wisdom dictates, but west, finds a new study.
"[M]ost installers of solar panels, especially the ones for homes, follow conventional wisdom handed down from architects, which holds that in the northern hemisphere, windows and solar panels should face south," notes Christopher Mims.
"This makes intuitive sense since it would seem to maximize the amount of sunlight a panel will get as the sun tracks from one horizon to the other. But it isn’t true, at least according to a single study of homes in Austin, Texas. The Pecan Street Research Institute found that homeowners who aimed their panels toward the west, instead of the south, generated 2% more electricity over the course of a day."