Getting started with solar forecasting data can be a bit daunting for the newcomer, as there is a stack of new terminology to learn.  In our aim to make solar data easy to understand, I've put together a short article on azimuth, to help you get started.

Azimuth

The azimuth of your solar PV system is the direction it is pointed with respect to the directions of a compass.  This is important for determining what time of the day the power output from your solar PV system will peak. The numerical values for each direction are listed in the image below (red text).

Open up Google Maps, find your PV system

You can find your PV system's azimuth by looking at Google Maps! Simply type in your address, and make sure that the red-arrow indicating north is pointing directly to the top of your screen, and that you have 'satellite' enabled as the map type.

Take a screenshot or print off the image from Google Maps that shows your rooftop solar site.  Then, make 2x arrows on the image. One that is directly to the North (mine is in red), and another that runs parallel to your solar panels (mine in orange). Then, looking at the above graphic, make your best guess of what numerical value your azimuth angle should have. (You might even decide to print-off the compass image as well).

Our example above has an azimuth of about 20 degrees

Here is another example below, where I've added a third arrow (in blue) pointing to the West, to help me make a solid guess of my azimuth angle. In this example, the PV system has an azimuth angle of approximately 130 degrees.

How precise do I need to be?

Generally, getting the azimuth measured to within + or - 5 degrees is sufficient precision to correctly time the peak power output from your rooftop solar system, and, importantly, produce an accurate overall energy yield calculation for a given day. 

Have a multiple azimuth PV system? 

Be sure to read this related article

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