Category - Solar
Guide author photo

Ryan Gill, Engineer

7 Mar : Updated 4 Apr ● 6 min read

What is the best angle for positioning solar panels in the UK?

As we navigate the path to a sustainable future, harnessing the sun's clean, renewable power through solar panels has become increasingly important. The UK isn't exactly known for its abundant sunshine, so why has solar power gained significant momentum here in recent years?

This little island we call home has a remarkable solar energy generation capacity. Contrary to popular belief, solar panels don't need Sahara-level heat to operate at full capacity. Too much heat can actually reduce their efficiency. All they need is sunlight, indirect or direct. But, to make every ray of sunshine count, you must install your solar panels at precisely the right angle.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the best angle for solar panels in the UK and why getting the right install angle is essential to maximising your solar PV system, no matter what roof angle your home has. 

Why is the angle of your solar panels important?

1. Maximising energy production

Tilting your solar panels at the right angle enables them to capture more sunlight throughout the day and the year. The increased exposure allows the panels to convert more sunlight into electricity, resulting in higher energy production and greater savings on your electricity bills.

The optimal angle for solar panels in the UK is facing south, at an angle between 20° and 50°. The best angle is worked out based on your location's latitude, which means the ideal positioning of your solar panels differs depending on where you are in the world.

2. Avoiding areas of shade

The angle of your solar panels can help avoid the areas and impact of shade on your property. When panels are tilted, they're less likely to be affected by shade from nearby objects, such as trees, buildings or chimneys. By minimising shadows, the panels absorb as much sunlight as possible, producing more energy for your home.

3. Getting the greatest return on your solar panel installation

Setting the panels at the recommended angle for UK homes allows you to capture more sunlight throughout the day and year, resulting in higher energy production.

The more electricity produced, the more significant the savings on your electricity bills will be. This will lead to you breaking even on your solar investment sooner.

4. Generating electricity throughout the year, not just in the summer months

The Earth's tilt changes throughout the year, according to which season we're in, which affects how the sun's light hits us. By adjusting the tilt angle of your solar panels, you can account for these variations and optimise their performance accordingly.

Installing panels at a fixed angle might capture less sunlight during winter when the sun is lower, meaning you won't get as much energy for your home.

The best angle for solar panels on a flat roof

The optimum angle for solar panels on flat roofs is around 30 to 35°. This angle helps the panels balance, maximising solar energy production and allowing rain to flow off them easily.

The angle considers the UK's geographical location and attempts to capture direct sunlight all year round, accounting for the lower angle of the sun during winter months. 

The best angle for solar panels on a pitched roof

The ideal angle for solar panels on pitched roofs ranges from 30 to 40°. This recommended solar panel orientation means you're making the most of energy production during summer and winter. A professional solar installer can provide a more precise recommendation based on your property.

The best direction for solar panels in the UK

If you have a fully south-facing roof, you're in luck. In the UK, the sun's path mainly goes from the south-east to the south-west. South-facing solar panels capture sunlight when it's most intense, meaning you'll get the most out of your solar panel system.

If you have a fully north-facing roof, you might face some issues when it comes to solar output. They're generally not recommended in the UK, as they receive significantly less sunlight and lower energy production than south-facing installations.

To overcome this issue, you can install your solar panels using a mounting system pitched against the slope of your roof. It may not be the most aesthetically pleasing setup, but it will dramatically affect your energy bills.

Key considerations for installing solar panels

  • What direction does your roof face?
  • How much sunlight does your property get?
  • Are there any objects that could cast a shadow on your solar panels?

What about if you can't install solar panels on your roof?

If you can’t have solar panels installed on your roof, don't worry. Although it's common to see solar panels on roofs, they can also be installed in gardens and on walls, as we’ll explore below.

The best angle for solar panels in gardens

When it comes to solar installation in your garden, the best angle and orientation are very similar to rooftop installation - ranging from about 30 to 40°.

Since solar panels in gardens are often ground-mounted, they can be adjusted to different tilt angles easily. This flexibility allows you to optimise the angle based on the season or sun exposure in your garden.

Tips for installing solar panels on a wall

If your roof isn't suitable for solar panel installation, you can mount them on an external wall. Although they can be trickier to install, you'll find they're much easier to maintain and clean than roof panels. Debris and snow can't build up on them in the same way.

Here are some tips to get the most out of your wall-mounted solar panels:

  • Choose a south-facing wall with minimal shade.
  • Make sure the wall is structurally sound and capable of supporting the weight of the solar panels.
  • Use a reliable and robust mounting system specifically designed for wall installations (a professional installer will be able to select the correct mounting brackets, rails and attachment methods suitable for your wall type and local weather conditions).
  • Plan the wiring and inverter placement carefully to ensure efficient energy transfer from the panels to the electrical system.
  • Keep wiring concealed and protected from the elements.

Ready to go solar?

Switching to solar can reduce your home's carbon footprint and electricity bills. Find the perfect solar panel system for your property with help from BOXT. We offer solutions tailored to your home, with expert installation and hands-on technical support at every stage.

Answer a few questions about your home and roof, and we'll provide a no-obligation quote to get the ball rolling. Do you still have questions about whether investing in solar panels is right for you? Check out our other solar panel guides to learn more about the benefits of installing solar panels, or speak to a member of our team for advice on the most suitable options for your home.

Switching to solar?

Switching to solar?

Whatever your situation, make the switch to solar with BOXT.

Learn more