Is a North-Facing Home Vital for a Rooftop Solar System?


Rooftop solar systems are truly fantastic, and all can recognise the great benefits they offer. From the capacity to cut energy costs, to provide an off-grid backup in the event of power failure, to the contribution they can make to a cleaner and greener world – to name just a few! Yet although many of the benefits of rooftop solar are commonly known, all the ins and outs of installation are not as well understood.


This is a real shame, as many people stall on getting a system – that they’ll ultimately find amazing – because some misconceptions and unknowns about solar hold back progress. A common example of this surrounds north-facing homes and solar systems. So let’s unpack this now. We’ll go through the essential info you need to understand about north-facing homes, and their solar capacity.


Why North-Facing is So Notable


Many of our readers will already know that a north-facing home can be ideal. For anyone that is yet to come across why that’s the case – or is perhaps just keen on a refresher – a quick recap of why this is so will be useful. North-facing homes are very desirable due to the higher level of direct sunlight they can receive in comparison to other facings. In particular, any home that is exactly 10 degrees east of due north is held to have the ideal facing


It’s why from a real estate perspective any residence that is north-facing – or northeast-facing – will typically go to market with its orientation as a key selling point. Other facings are certainly not horrific necessarily, but the north and northeast-facing remain the most appealing overall. 


Why it Matters for Rooftop Solar Installations 


Because north-facing homes are held to be the best to receive direct sunlight, many potential solar adopters infer that a north-facing residence will be best for solar panels too. In turn, those residences which are not north-facing will be at a disadvantage when seeking to get a rooftop solar system. Although there are aspects of this perspective that are accurate, there’s also shades of grey in it.


While north-facing installations can be great, the precise benefits they provide in comparison to solar installations that are on another facing – such as a north-west one – can be a far closer competition than many may otherwise imagine. In particular, the level of energy a household aspires to export, as opposed to utilising for their own consumption, is a consideration. 


An Array of Options


Recent years have seen the feed-in tariff (FIT) diminished across multiple Australian jurisdictions. Overall, there’s a number of reasons why this has been occurring. Yet a key driver of it is the aspiration of authorities to reduce the sending of excess energy from rooftop solar installations to the grid so as to reduce the risk of blackouts. Due to this reduction in the FIT, a recalculation surrounding which facing can be ideal for a household has been required.


Overall north-facing panels will produce the most electricity overall. But a system with a western orientation will produce more electricity in the afternoon, yet less in the morning. For those who utilise a lot of electricity in the afternoon – or can devise a smart plan to do so to take advantage of the self-consumption opportunity a rooftop system offers – a western orientation can be very serviceable. 


Furthermore, a system with a north-west facing will in effect offer the advantages (and disadvantages) of both aforementioned orientations. A north-west setup will produce slightly less power than a north-facing one, but still more than a western one. In turn, while a north-west facing won’t generate as much energy as a western-facing setup in the afternoon, it’ll still obtain more than a northern one. Similar trade-offs apply when it comes to east and north-east orientated rooftop solar systems. 


Facing up to an Issue


It’s important to keep in mind that solar installations are not simply ‘set and forget’ jobs. It’s necessary to do regular checks and maintenance to ensure the panels continue to operate as they should. For example, a regular cleaning – with many businesses recommending one occur every six months – should be done. As a result of this, it’s useful to remember any solar household that is (now) unhappy with the facing of their panels may have the potential to address the issue.


Solar panels can be repositioned for a variety of reasons. For example, if a tree has grown tall and shaded the panels – but the owners don’t wish to remove that tree – then repositioning them could be possible. Ideally, upon installation, the panels would have already been put in their optimal position not only for the current time but with a view to the future. But if a repositioning is now desirable, a quality solar installer should be able to discuss options further.


The Ideal Orientation


At the end of the day, the ideal orientation for a rooftop solar system can depend on many factors. It’s vital you understand while a north-facing setup can certainly be desirable, it’s not by default essential – or perhaps even ideal. Especially after the reduction of the FIT in recent years. Ultimately, the best path for your household to learn what solar setup may be ideal for your home is by contacting a trusted solar installer. The same applies when it comes to discussing options surrounding a repositioning of the panels, should that become desirable going forward. At Soltek Energy we are dedicated to providing you with the best solar solutions and the best advice in Australia. Get in touch with us today for your solar energy needs.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait for Breakthroughs in Solar Battery Tech Before Installing Solar


Right now Australia’s seeing an installation boom in rooftop solar systems. Given the immense popularity of solar, it may seem like just about every household has a solar system. If you don’t have solar, maybe you are planning to get it in the future. 


We often come across a subset of people who would like a solar system – and oftentimes they could get one now – but have the idea on pause in anticipation of future advances in solar battery technology. Often the reasoning is that they believe it’s necessary to wait on advances in battery tech and that until then getting a rooftop solar system doesn’t make sense for them. This misperception is common, but we want to advise why we don’t recommend waiting for breakthroughs in solar battery tech before installing solar. 


Why Playing the Waiting Game with Solar Battery Tech is Unwise


Don’t get us wrong, we like to see customers being prudent and doing their research first when it comes to jumping onto a hot trend – including solar and battery tech. But it’s also necessary to recognise that oftentimes holding off on acquiring something that could begin to bring you financial, environmental and energy-saving gains simply doesn’t make sense. 


This is the case when considering a solar installation on the basis of future advances in battery tech in particular. There’s certainly nothing wrong with keeping an eye on emerging advances and indeed looking forward to them. But holding off on getting solar today simply because battery tech is still developing only results in you missing out on solar today. It’s important to remember it’s possible to add a solar battery to an existing installation down the line. So ultimately the battery decision doesn’t need to delay a rooftop solar installation now. 


E-Smart Solar offers the Tesla Powerwall battery storage solution for both new systems and as a retrofit to existing systems, combining our experience with solar with Tesla’s innovation in energy storage. The Tesla Powerwall enables you to store surplus energy during the day (ie energy that your solar panels have created but not used) for use at a later time.


If you’re keen to see just how far you can extend your solar power, talk to us today.


It’s Possible to Change with the Changes in the Solar Sector 


An additional concern our customers have surrounds the potential decline of existing incentives like rebates and feed-in tariffs (FIT). For some, these worries actually drive people to speed up their solar plans so they can get extra benefits while they still can. But for some people that just isn’t possible right now. Some customers also feel it may not be worth their while in future if these incentives are no longer in place like they are today.


It’s no secret that in the years to come there could be an adjustment to existing incentives surrounding solar panel installation and operation. That’s just the reality. But it’s also the case that as one incentive such as the feed-in tariff (FIT) may be scaled back, other initiatives to incentivise exporting excess solar are set to pop up. There is a rising trend in blockchain and community solar energy use. We don’t think incentives for solar will be going away. Ultimately, regardless of what adjustments may go on surrounding solar exports, a rooftop solar system is set to remain a terrific tool for slashing your power bills in the years ahead. 


The Wisdom in Storing Up Solar Knowledge


If anyone now feels they’ve lost time on getting solar, it’s important they recognise thinking in-depth about a solar system can be very useful – it’s just best to channel it into the right area. Instead of focusing on the future of batteries right now, focus on gaining a strong and clear-cut insight surrounding how to seek out a quality solar installer. Also, how to maximise the benefits of a solar installation once it’s in place. 


By taking this approach it’s possible to optimise the benefits of a solar installation well into the future, and – instead of waiting years – start to reap the rewards of that process today. Then, when the time is right, look to add a solar battery in the mix. 


You can start by visiting our website. E-Smart Solar’s skills let us provide clients with custom solar work – all in one simple, streamlined process. Contact us today.