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Adjusting Our Solar Panels

My "Solar Power Day" blog post was lengthy long enough as it was. However, there was one more thing I wanted to show you—one last thing we did when we finally got our system up and running—how we adjust the angle of our solar panels to take advantage of the seasonal position of the sun.

Photo from "The Solar Panels Are Up."

Originally, we talked about putting our solar panels on the roof. Now I'm glad we didn't. Rooftop panels are fixed, but by putting the panels on a rack on the ground, they can be made adjustable. High-tech tracking systems are available, or adjustments can be made manually, like ours.

You may recall that Dan made the rack for our solar panel array.


He spent a lot of time thinking how to make it adjustable. Here's what he did.

The panel frame is attached to the stand with hinges at the top.

The bottom is supported by slotted strut channels
and a steel dowel pin pounded into the frame.

These are also hinged at the frame.

How do we know what angle to adjust the panel array to? With a nifty idea we got from Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook; simply glue a nail to one of the solar panels. In our case, we glued it to the 50-watt panel we use for our portable battery recharging station. We didn't glue it to an array panel because we didn't want it sticking out where it might accidentally scratch someone.

On a sunny day at noon, tilt the panel until the nail's shadow disappears.

I tilted the panel just enough so that you can see the shadow. The panel is
turned until the shadow disappears, then the array is adjusted to that angle.

The array angle is changed by simply moving the channel struts to another slot.

Done.

Angel adjusted for late January.

That's my kind of technology.

Adjusting Our Solar Panels © February 2020

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