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Looking for advice on panels and how they work

  • 02-01-2022 7:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 14,221 ✭✭✭✭


    I've spent the last few hours reading through some very informative threads, but tbh maybe I've read too much but I'm a little lost.

    We bought a 20 year old house last year and we are now getting around to solar panels, and I want to do as much DIY as possible.

    From reading the threads the panels look very straight forward in terms of how they work, I will get physical help to actually install them but I'd love some advise on what type of panels to go for, and how many!

    And, will our Velux windows cause issues?

    Our roof is 95% south facing, with maybe 5% West.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,239 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Looks like you have a large garden. Would you not consider ground mounted and save messing with your roof.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,221 ✭✭✭✭SteelyDanJalapeno

    It's about half an acre, I never really considered ground mounted.

    I'll look into that now

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,239 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Build a frame and do the donkey work. You just need a spark to connect the wiring.

  • Registered Users Posts: 670 ✭✭✭ciotog

    I've been looking at a lot of DIY ground mount videos on YouTube lately - people have some great setups. I'm currently researching a DIY off-grid ground mount setup for my shed/office (in case there's curiosity: there's a spot I fancy for 5 of the 450W panels from Midsummer and I'm looking at the Growatt SPF 5000 es all-in-one)

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,221 ✭✭✭✭SteelyDanJalapeno

    If you were to go ground mount, whats the ideal angle and direction they should point?

    Assuming no shades from anywhere

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,340 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    The question is easy, the answer without trying to sound evasive is .... it depends.

    What I mean is that if all your panels are facing due south, then the angle that the panels are at would be your latitude minus the earth's "tilt" (23.5 deg). So if you are in Dublin (53deg) north, then your panels should be tilted approx 30 deg from the horizontal plan.

    Facing due south is of course where the "best" generation is, but you may not want that. For example, lets say there's no one in the house at lunchtime, and all the energy usage is in the afternoon/early evening. Well you might want your panels facing South West. Yes, you can get around that with a battery capture the sun when it's due south and reuse that energy later, but it's a bit more complicated than that.

    Have a read.....

    What Solar Panel Orientation is best in the UK? (

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,036 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    South facing, around 38-39° to maximize annual output.

    If you can get adjustable ground mounts, you can improve that even further.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,125 ✭✭✭SD_DRACULA

    And if you want ultimate boss level setup add a motor/solar tracker and have it follow the sun.

    I'd do it if I had the space for ground mounts 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,695 ✭✭✭poker--addict

    I have the same option, ground space, I thought of it alright but quickly dismissed it.

    I know ground space might not be used on a big site but I feel like panels are meant to be out of the way and generally not taking up space on your site. Roof is wasted/unusable space and thus is perfect. People pass no notice. Panels on the ground will be the first thing people notice. The roof is hassle initially but you cant just put panels lying in a field either, so there is mounting work to be done either way. From what I understand it is extremely rare and unlikely that one would need to be up on the roof post install. Foundations/steal mounts for the ground may not be as cost effective as getting roofer or DIY for a roof setup anyway?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,239 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Check out the threads from IrishChris. He did ground mounted to add to what he had on the roof

    I've 5 acres so no shortage of space

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,340 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Two thing that ground units have going for them is that

    1. You can arbitrarily position the orientation how you want. South of course is the usual winner, but I've been thinking if I had complete choice, a 50-50 SE/SW split is probably what I'd go for. Longer production during the day. South tends to give more, but it's "condensed".
    2. You can change the angle of the panels to the horizontal plane. Increasing it in winter to say 60-70 deg and then dropping it back in summer to 10-20 degrees. This simple change will probably boost production by 20-30%

    So if you have the land definitely something to consider.