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How important is it that the collectors face due South?

Q:

How important is it that the collectors face due South?

A:

For solar space heating systems, it is important that the collectors face close to due solar South. This is because the days are much shorter during the winter, and the sun does not rise as far above the horizon. Solar systems for heating outdoor pools (in the summertime) are much less sensitive to off-South positioning.

The angle that the collectors are mounted at is also important for solar space heating. If the collectors are to be used for only space heating, they should be mounted at approximately 60 degrees from horizontal to take the best advantage of the low angle of the winter sun - and possibly pick up some energy from sunlight reflected off the snow. There should not be a structure or ledge directly below the bottom edge of the collectors that could prevent snow from sliding off the face of the solar panels.