Solar systems will always produce more energy in summer than in winter and this is due to the sun being higher in the sky and the days being longer. One interesting point which most people don’t realise is that solar systems don’t like too much heat and will produce around 20% less energy than their peak on a 40-degree day. Therefore, you may find that your solar system hits its peak production at any one point in time during spring or autumn. Overall though, your system will produce more units of energy during the summer months due to the longer days.
Cloud cover is an obvious one but worth mentioning. If clouds pass over your system, the system will have less sunlight reaching it meaning less production.
Somewhat annoyingly, the hotter a solar panel is the less well it performs. So a solar system will perform slightly better at 11 am than at 1 pm, even though they may be getting the same amount of sunlight in each case, because at 1 pm the panels are hotter.
As much as possible, solar systems should be positioned to avoid shading. Basically, shading drastically reduces production unless you’ve got a special setup (e.g. micro-inverters). Partial shading early morning or late afternoon is acceptable if unavoidable however you don’t want shade across your panels at midday.
The pitch and orientation of your system plays a big part in how you generate power. Below is a breakdown of what to expect depending on which way your panels will face.
NORTH Facing Panels
In Australia North facing panels receive the most sun throughout the day. If North facing panels aren’t an option on your roof it’s not a deal breaker! You can choose other panel directions based on your high energy consumption times.
EAST Facing Panels
Generates more energy in the morning and less in the afternoon (12% less energy than North facing).
WEST Facing Panels
Generates less energy in the morning but more in the afternoon (12% less energy than North facing).
SOUTH Facing Panels
Avoid where possible as South facing panels generate up to 28% less energy than North.
Some roofs allow for a combination of different directions, which can be beneficial on maximising the suns movements throughout the day.