PV Module Angles

Richard Perez and Sam Coleman

©1993 Home Power

Photovoltaic (PV) modules work by converting sunshine directly into electricity. Sunlight is the essential ingredient. PV modules work best when their cells are perpendicular to the Sun's incoming rays. Adjustment of static mounted PV modules can result in from 10% to 40% more power output yearly. Here's the angle.

Getting Perpendicular

Keeping the module perpendicular to the incoming sunlight means that the module intercepts the maximum amount of sunlight. If you have trouble visualizing this concept, take this magazine outside and hold it up to the sun while observing its shadow. If the magazine (or module) is edge on to the sunlight, then it casts a small shadow. If the magazine's cover (or module's face) is perpendicular to the sunlight, then the shadow is as big as it will ever be. The size of the shadow shows us exactly how much sunlight is being intercepted. In the case of a PV module, maximum shadow means maximum power.

Solar Azimuth

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