Calculate Solar Panel Tilt

1. Find the direction of magnetic North and consequently magnetic South.

2. Adjust for magnetic declination to find exact true South.

3. Point solar panels towards true South.

4. Find optimum tilt angle based on the latitude and the season.

Enter the value of latitude below to find the panel tilt in degrees.

Winter

*+ = Degrees

Spring and Fall

* = Degrees

Summer

Latitude

* = Degrees

Note:
1. The result above is the angle in degrees from the horizontal.
2. If you do not know the latitude of your city you can look it up here.

Author: Yasir Ahmed (aka John)

More than 20 years of experience in various organizations in Pakistan, the USA, and Europe. Worked as a Research Assistant within the Mobile and Portable Radio Group (MPRG) of Virginia Tech and was one of the first researchers to propose Space Time Block Codes for eight transmit antennas. The collaboration with MPRG continued even after graduating with an MSEE degree and has resulted in 12 research publications and a book on Wireless Communications. Worked for Qualcomm USA as an Engineer with the key role of performance and conformance testing of UMTS modems. Qualcomm is the inventor of CDMA technology and owns patents critical to the 4G and 5G standards.

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4 thoughts on “Calculate Solar Panel Tilt”

1. John says:

Phil,

These calculations work best for latitude of 25 degrees to 50 degrees.

John

2. phil says:

For southern hemisphere users, negative latitudes give odd results.

In my first question, I asked what those other numbers mean? eg. 0.89 0.98 0.92

You also say “Enter the value of latitude below to find the antenna tilt in degrees.” – I guess a solar panel is like an antenna.

3. phil says:

Why do I need to enter Latitude 3 times?
What are other numbers in other boxes for?

1. John says:

Phil,

You need to enter Latitude 3 times for the three seasons (winter, spring/autumn, summer). Usually winter is the worst in terms of solar radiation received so you may use this value. If you can change the tilt of the solar panels 4 times each year then you may use the different values for the different seasons.

John