With the popularity of renewable energy sources rising daily many have turned to solar panels in order to produce their own energy and even sell some back to the national grid. The move into solar panels is not a new one with hundreds of thousands of buildings from residential residences to business premises already sporting the roof-top panel.
While the growth in the number of solar panels in the UK is promising researchers now say that many of the panels are facing in the wrong direction. Authorised installers across the northern hemisphere are pointing panels towards the south. Professor Gottshalg of the Loughborough University however agrees with energy experts who are now saying that west-facing panels would be better suited.
Scientific studies have shown that west facing panels would actually produce higher levels of energy in a more consistent way than south-facing ones which tend to receive a spike of energy during the middle of the day and less either side of this time bracket.
Professor Gottshalg reports that Germany has a great number of south-facing solar panels which results in a rush of energy production so fierce during the summer around midday that the grid becomes interrupted. The more homes and businesses that install this eco-friendly energy gathering solution, the more severe the midday spikes will become. This will continue to cause additional disruptions and yet still not produce the optimum daily energy levels that west-facing panels would do.
Gottshalg is urging those in the UK to consider future installations and house-builds to take this new solar panel efficiency research on board.
Also of the Loughborough University, Professor Michael Wallis adds that the 500,000 installations already south-facing in the UK are exactly where they should be. He adds however that additional units should be east-west facing to ensure optimum energy production. West-east facing panels will on average produce ten per cent less over time however when considering the larger picture and the long term implications of continuing to place panels south-facing the loss is preferable to the ongoing disruption Germany now faces.
In essence changing the direction of future solar panel installations will smooth out and stabilise the incoming flow of solar-powered energy, offering a more consistent supply.
Solar panels have become incredibly popular in the UK and areas such as Cornwall are no longer able to accept additional solar panel installations to feed into the local grid as the supply already being produced has reached the maximum levels the grid is able to handle.
The reality of the situation is however that in order for solar power to continue to be an asset in the UK and across the northern hemisphere future solar panels will need to be directed away from the south and towards the east.