The United Kingdom is a country of differing temperatures where the sun rises and also sets at different angles throughout the various months of the course of the year. The angle that the sun rises and sets at is very relevant to calculating the optimum angle that a solar panel should be placed at in order to maximise the solar panels generation capability at any one particular time.
Where the sun rises and sets will be different as we travel from the North of the island down to the South. This means that as we travel from, say, Aberdeen in the far North of Scotland to the far South Western corner of Cornwall that the sun will rise and set further away from due South. Where the sun rises and sets will not only change with geographical locations, but also throughout the various different months and seasons of the year.
In the winter months, the sun will be lower in the sky and will therefore require panels to be angled more towards the vertical in order to generate the maximum possible yield. By contrast, a summer sun will tend to be higher in the sky. This means that an angle of around 60° will be the best angle to generate maximum yield.
As solar panels tend to be mounted at a fixed angle, usually that of the roof itself, you would tend to notice a pattern of productivity dependant of the season. Approximately 50% of the energy generated from solar panels will come in the summer months, 10% will be generated in the winter months with the remaining 40% coming in the form of a 20% spring and a 20% autumn contribution.
With Britain’s varying climate and often overcast conditions, it isn’t possible to hit peak performance all year long. However, with the correct research you can go a long way to getting the best out of your solar pv system.