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    Many Solar Panels in the World Are Aimed in the Wrong Direction

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    According to data from the Pecan Street Research Institute, solar panels that are made to face west rather than south actually create 2 percent more electricity daily, and 49 percent more electricity during peak demand hours.

    It is common practice to install solar panels facing south on buildings in the northern hemisphere to optimize the amount of light exposure and therefore generate the most electricity.

    But according to data from the Pecan Street Research Institute, solar panels that are made to face west rather than south actually create 2 percent more electricity daily, and 49 percent more electricity during peak demand hours.

    Researchers looked at 50 homes in the Austin, Texas area using solar panels, with some oriented west, some facing south and others both directions.

    Solar panels that pointed west reportedly cut down on power usage by 65 percent in the household during peak times when electricity is the most expensive, compared with a reduction of 54 percent from south facing solar panels.

    Brewster McCracken, CEO of Pecan Street is quoted as saying: “There’s no other residential demand response tool generating 60 percent reductions. Those are pretty extraordinary peak reductions.”

    The extra power comes from the intensity of light that hit the panels later in the day that can only be picked up when the panels are oriented to the west.

    What do you think should be done to fix solar panel orientation practices and maximize the production of solar power?