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Thread: Solar Panel Angle for Brisbane

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    Senior Member skozzy's Avatar
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    Default Solar Panel Angle for Brisbane

    What would be the ideal angle to have solar panels on for the Brisbane area ?.

    When I had my system installed I set it up for true north at 30 degrees, after a week of monitoring I found the times here where I get full sun on the panels and got my "Middle of the Day" marker from them, then changed from North to a little east (about 15 degrees). Reason for that was a shadow from my house and next doors tree. After doing that I found I was getting about 2kw a day more power. The next week I changed the angle from 30 degrees to 40 degrees and managed to collect a further 1.5kw for the day.

    Last week when we had all the strong winds here the system reached a new peek of 15.5kw for the day, 1kw higher then the average for the past 2 months.

    So yesterday I changed the angle back to 30 degrees and at the moment the figures i see are about 10% lower then the past few days. I will leave it run for a week like this just to get a better average for the time of day and total for the day.

    I guess the brand of the panels have a small part to play, mine are branded as Solar Fun, just a cheap-o asian brand, most days I get 80% of the max rated power from the panels. Those windy days it went over 90% and the odd cloud edge effect I see 100%+ readings for very short times for the DC levels, the AC levels hover around 95% efficency all day long with the 2.8kw Xantrex Inverter.

    Maybe next week I will try a 20 degree angle and see what that does.



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    For a set and forget system, the north angle should be at your latitude. Brisbane is 27 degrees or so.

    If you can adjust them, as sounds like in your case, the adjustment range is 27 degrees +/- 23.5 degrees so it will vary from 50.5 degrees in winter to 3.5 degrees in summer. 27 degrees is for the equinox at September 21 and March 21.

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    the sun is going to track accross the sky at different times of the year. e low in winter, hiher in summer. I would say you find a position optimised for all year round. Another option it to make a motorised tracker to track the sun.

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    Senior Member skozzy's Avatar
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    I can adjust the angle and rotate the arrays as well, but cause of how close they are one can cast a shadow across the other if turned too much. Today with the 30 degree angle I got an average of 200 watts more, but the peek power range shifted 1.5 hours later in the day for the 10 degrees I changed it.

    Having a motor attached is an ultimate goal and have a switch inside the house but till then its a 2 man job to change the angle, and a one man job to rotate them.

    At 40 degrees I get a higher peek power reading but for a shorter time of the day, at 30 degrees it almost hit the 80% max levels, didn't quite get there, but it lasted about 1.5 hours longer, so if I were able to adjust it at any time (which I cant on my own) I could tweek it and bag an extra Kw or two for the day.

    I will ask around with some mates if they know of someone that works in metal fabrication and see if I can get the angle adjustment changed from fixed 10 degree bolt holes steps to a fully adjustable setup with a winder. Not far from my place a guy has setup his system with a similar concept to mine but he has added a hydrolic arm to his for tilting the array.

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    You must be keen. It's more trouble than I'm willing to go to even for my small array.

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    Senior Member skozzy's Avatar
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    I get keener each time I look at the power meter on the run and the power company giving me money and not taking it. Few more watts in summer means a cooler bedroom with the air con running all the time.

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    Many years ago I think Silicon Chip had a design for a 'Sun Traker' photo cell circuit.
    From memory it was to rotate a reflective sheild on a Solar HWS but I cant see why this wouldnt work on any panels.
    The motive power was to be supplied by 12V windscreen wiper or similar motors.
    Of course you could have 2, one to do the Tilt and the other to 'Track' the sun to get the absolute best possible angles.
    At the end of the day, the panels would goto the morning 'Park' position to await the next days rising sun.
    I stand unequivicably behind everything I say , I just dont ever remember saying it !!

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    Senior Member skozzy's Avatar
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    Having it work automatic would be nice. But I can't yet understand why I get more peek power levels when the panels are-not facing directly at the sun.

    Currently at 30 degrees the peek reading is 2300 watts (give or take a few), but at 40 degrees I get peeks around 2800 watts. But over the course of the day from the few days tests so far the overall power generation @ 30 degrees is about 200 watts lower on average. It could be the design of the panels I guess.

    A friend of a friend works in metal fabrication so i found out today, so I am going to try get to chat with him and see if he is interested in making a modification to allow me to change the tilt with a crank handle or pulley wheel that could be driven by an electric motor.

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    Perhaps the temperature of the panels rises enough to lower the efficiency when the panels are facing directly at the sun. Just a though.

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    There are fully-automatic tracking systems available.

    It's also possible the cells are slightly offset in angle, compared to the frame itself. (a bit like an offset satellite dish, but not as great an offset angle).

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    could it be due to the refraction of the either the covering panel or the actual face of the matrix itself ??
    Also wasnt there something about 'Heat' being a major problem and maybe this offset is designed to reduce this?
    I think you will soon abaondon the idea of any form of Manual adjustment for either face or tilt as it has to be done every few minutes and sitting out there day in and day out, winter to summer would soon wear the novely off !!!
    I stand unequivicably behind everything I say , I just dont ever remember saying it !!

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