What Direction Should My Automatic Gate Solar Panel Face?

Apollo Gate Opener Solar Panel

Powering your automatic gate opener system with a solar panel is a great way to conserve energy and collect backup power for your gate opener. An important note for solar panel installation is the placement. Understanding why placement matters will allow you to optimize the benefits of solar power. For example, foliage growth of tree leaves, branches, and weeds can cover the solar panel, limiting sunlight exposure, and depending on the time of the year and how short days can get, you may move the solar panel up to 100 feet away from the control box to avoid shadows. So why exactly does placement matter, and in what direction should you mount your solar panel? Continue reading to learn more.

Why Placement Matters for Solar Panels

Appropriately orienting your solar panel can improve energy output by up to 30%. But orientation is not the only factor. Solar panels consist of photovoltaic (PV) or silicon cells that absorb sunlight. These cells are made of semiconductor materials that take in bandgap or specific wavelengths of light. The cells maximally absorb sunlight when pointed in the correct direction, so simple adjustments like direction and angle can increase your solar array’s efficiency.

Best Direction for Solar Panels

Apollo Gate Opener Solar Panel Installation

In the Northern Hemisphere, particularly North America, the best positioning for a solar panel is directly due south. Automatic gate users that power their system with a solar panel ought to note that they are situated north of the equator, meaning the sun hits the south side of their structures. Angle is also important; at a lower latitude, you will want to have a 20-degree tilt to the solar panel relative to the ground, whereas, at a higher latitude, you will want to tilt the panel up to 45 degrees. The season may also affect the angle at which your solar panel is mounted. During the winter, consider a lower angle; during the summer, consider a higher angle, generally ranging from 35 to 80 degrees relative to the ground.

How Much Sunlight Does My Solar Gate Opener Need?

The average recommended time a solar panel should harvest sunlight is 8 hours a day. This timespan should allow your solar panel to collect and store sufficient energy for a gate opener to operate moderately for a week. However, you must consider application, usage, and the solar panel size. For example, a 10-watt solar panel can power a residential house that uses the gate a few times daily. Still, you will want a 30-watt solar panel for a commercial business gate used frequently throughout the day, which may reduce the number of days it can be used as a backup.

Go Solar and Shop Solar Panels for Your Automatic Gate Opener System

If you would like to learn more about Apollo solar gate opener systems and other products please visit our Resources Hub for informational and instructional content or reach out to our friendly sales representatives. They are happy to help in any way they can!

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