Orienting a solar system to the north was always considered counterproductive. The north side of the roof remained unused for a long time. But a lot has changed in the meantime and the use of the north roof is no longer so outlandish.
You have decided to purchase a solar system to make your contribution to climate protection or simply to become independent of the public grid. But now you realize that your pent roof is oriented to the north, or that the south side of your gabled roof no longer offers any space. In fact, it’s not that big of a problem anymore. Under certain conditions, a PV system on the north side is even worthwhile.
Does A Solar System Work On The North Roof?
The further development of modern photovoltaic systems with the latest technology also makes it possible to generate electricity on the north side of the roof. The solar cells are now much more sensitive and also work in weak light.
This has the advantage that the systems deliver yields even when the sky is cloudy, regardless of which side of the roof. Attempts are being made to constantly improve the performance of PV systems in order to derive the greatest possible benefit from them.
Accordingly, north-facing ground mounted solar panels can also generate solar power under certain conditions.
In diffuse light, the north side produces the same yields as the optimal south side. In summer there is even direct light in the mornings and evenings, as the sun is already rising in the north-east.
Solar generators also work on the north side. However, the general yields are 30-40% lower than PV systems on the sunny south side.
However, they serve as a great addition or as a good alternative if you have no other option.
When the panel lies flatter, more light reaches it. At an angle of inclination between 0-20°, a performance of up to 70% can be achieved. With inclines of up to 30°, 60% is still achieved.
However, it should be noted that a roof pitch of less than 10° can cause some problems. Rain does not run off as well and snow remains, which shades the system or, in the worst case, causes damage to the roof. Angles of 10-20° are therefore best suited.
Type Of Solar Cell
Whether a solar system proves useful on the north side also depends on the type of solar cell. Thin-film cells, for example, work very well with diffuse light and suffer hardly any losses.
They consist of a substrate, often glass, onto which a thin layer of silicon – or other efficient material – is vapor deposited.
Unfortunately, thin-film cells have a low level of efficiency, which is why a larger roof area makes sense. A combination of thin-film and crystalline cells has also proven advantageous.
The modern solar systems have a much better weak light behavior. In the future, the PV systems will be even more optimized, because research is continuing into optimal hybrid cells – among other things.
Pros And Cons Of The North Side
A big advantage is the lower temperature on the north side of the roof. The temperature regulation of the PV systems is significantly better here and there are no losses or damage due to overheating.
Of course, it is promising that the installation of PV systems on the north roof is possible at all. Pent roofs are no longer in a hopeless situation, because homeowners can generate and use “green electricity” despite the suboptimal roof alignment.
The disadvantage is of course the lower yield due to the reduced performance. Since more efficient modules are usually required to generate solar power on a north-facing roof, a higher budget must also be expected. However, this is not always worthwhile with the lower yields.
When Is A North-Facing PV System Worthwhile?
A PV system on the north side of the roof is particularly worthwhile if you have a high personal electricity requirement but there is no other option for installing your system.
For example, you have a north-facing pent roof and there is no space for a system in the garden either. So you have no choice.
Here it makes sense to make the best of it and use the north side for solar power generation. On the north roof, an output of up to 70% can be achieved with an optimal inclination.
A photovoltaic system on the north roof is also worthwhile if all other roof sides are already covered with modules, but you still need more solar power. So you can also use the north side, which brings in additional income.
However, the PV system on the north roof is only worthwhile if your roof has a low angle of inclination of a maximum of 30°. With steeper roofs, solar modules on the north side are not advisable, as hardly any PV yields are gained here.
Photovoltaic on the north side is only worthwhile if you plan to buy your own system. The PV north system is not profitable when rented, since the rent that has to be paid constantly cannot be compensated for with the lower yields of the system.
A north installation is therefore now a viable alternative and, under certain conditions, a useful investment. However, if you have the option of aligning your photovoltaic system to the south, you should of course prefer that.
How Often Do I Have To Clean My Solar System?
Solar panels are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and do not require much maintenance. Still, keeping them clean is important to work at peak efficiency. The cleaning frequency depends on the solar panel’s location and the amount of dirt that has accumulated on the surface.
It is recommended to clean the panels at least every 5 years. However, if the panels are in a dusty area or there is a lot of dirt on them, they may need to be cleaned more often.
Can I Clean My Solar System Myself?
Small solar panels are built to withstand the elements, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require maintenance. Dust, pollen, and bird droppings can build up on the solar panels and reduce their efficiency.
While you can hire a professional to clean your solar panels, it’s quite easy to do it yourself. The first step is to equip yourself with gloves, a telescopic pole, and proper work clothes.
Then use a soft cleaning brush to remove dirt and debris from the surface of the modules. You may need a gentle biological cleaner if the records are particularly dirty.
Be careful not to use harsh chemicals as they may damage the surface of the plate. When you have cleaned the panels, rinse them with clear water to remove any cleaning agent residue. You can keep your solar panels clean and efficient for years with a little care.
- Do not use a high-pressure cleaner! (Module frames, glass, and panels can be damaged)
- Do not use caustic cleaning agents!
- Do not climb onto the roof by yourself! (Use telescopic pole and skylight)
How Much Does Professional Cleaning Cost Me?
If you have the solar system in your house cleaned by a specialist company, the cleaning costs for PV systems are between 1.50 and 3 dollars per square meter. For a 50 m² system, your bill could be between $75 and $150! Please note, however, that the travel costs must be added to the cleaning costs.
Cleaning makes sense when the costs incurred are lower than the lost income (feed-in tariff or electricity used independently). If you use your PV system commercially, you can claim these costs for tax purposes. To save costs, you can combine the maintenance of your off grid solar system with simultaneous cleaning.
Maintaining your solar panels is a crucial factor in ensuring their efficiency. Cleaning helps keep them running at peak performance and is an easy task you can do yourself.
All you need are a few basic supplies (telescopic pole + soft cleaner) and the knowledge of how to clean them properly. If you follow these simple steps, your solar panels will be running like new again in no time!
When cleaning yourself, take all precautionary measures to keep the risk of accidents and damage as low as possible.
Of course, you can also have your PV system professionally cleaned. To save travel costs, you can combine the maintenance and cleaning of your system. Both are tax deductible for commercial use.