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Topic

How does latitude effect solar energy yield?

I understand that the array tilt angle is important for a solar PV system.

As long as I arrange my array pointing towards sun it should generate the same energy output. Is that correct?

Hey IGoSolar,

Depending on what time of the year you want the maximum solar output effects the tilt angle of the array.  For instance, an array optimized for winter has a different tilt angle and less total energy output than an array optimized for year-round energy production, but yields more energy during the winter months.  Also your latitude plays a role in determining your array's optimal tilt angle.  I highly recommend looking at these two articles if you have any further questions on tilt angle: Calculation of Tilt Angle based on Time of Use and The Effect of Array Tilt Angle on Energy Output.

Hey kevintai,

Could you give an example for an array on 35th and 45th latitude?

We can arrange the tilt angle for summer months or winter months - even by using a dual axis tracker. How does the annual energy yield change if we arrange the optimal tilt angle?

Hey Levent,

Assuming they both have the same conditions, the 35th latitude will have a greater energy output than the 45th latitude.  The reason behind this is that places closer to the equator (0 latitude) have a higher solar intensity than places closer to the north/south pole (90/-90 latitude).

The optimal tilt angle basically is the best angle to produce the most annual energy.  Even though the energy output may be lower than arrays tilted for summer or winter for some months, the annual yield is higher.  To find your optimal tilt angle in the US, take a look at Solmetric’s site