DIY Rooftop Solar Panels: Portrait vs. Landscape Orientation Posted on 24 Feb 07:00

Does your DIY rooftop solar panel orientation matter?

solar panel orientation

For optimal energy production, your photovoltaic system must be positioned to capture the maximum available sunlight, and the modules must be free of shading. When designing your DIY solar array, you’ll need to choose either a portrait or landscape orientation.

But how do you know which option is best for your rooftop?

Either Orientation Can Work for DIY Rooftop Solar Panels

The output of your photovoltaic system is determined by how many solar modules you can fit within your available rooftop space.

Whether you can install more photovoltaic modules in a landscape or portrait orientation depends on the configuration of your roof. Many homeowners find that they have enough rooftop space to choose either orientation, but some rooftops are better suited for one or the other.

Fortunately, in terms of solar energy efficiency, this issue isn’t critical. Given maximum access to sunlight, DIY solar panels mounted horizontally perform as well as those mounted vertically.

Landscape Orientation May Increase the Cost of Rooftop Solar

Choosing a portrait orientation for your DIY solar panel system may help keep your costs down.

Standard rooftop racking systems are optimized for vertical mounting. Installing your photovoltaic modules with a horizontal orientation requires more rows, and consequently, more hardware.

Let’s say your DIY rooftop system will contain 12 photovoltaic modules. In a portrait orientation, you could install two rows of six modules each. Choose a landscape configuration, and you will need three rows of four photovoltaic panels.

More rows mean that you need more mounting clamps and standoffs. And that means your photovoltaic hardware costs will be higher with a landscape orientation.

The Bottom Line for Your DIY Rooftop Solar Installation

You may not have the option of choosing whether to mount your rooftop solar array in a landscape or portrait orientation. In many installations, the roof configuration will make that decision for you.

If you can choose, a portrait orientation can save you some money. But that’s not the only reason most solar DIYers opt to mount their photovoltaic modules vertically. With less hardware, portrait installation is much easier and quicker to complete. Also, wiring may be more complicated with landscape-mounted DIY solar panels.

Solar GOODs, your DIY superstore for energy independence, can help you design an effective and efficient photovoltaic system to fit within your available rooftop space. Start with our easy-to-use system design tool. If you need input or help from one of our renewable energy experts, we can also provide personal assistance to answer all your questions.

Visit our website or contact us today for answers to all of your questions about DIY rooftop solar panel systems.