You might think that to use solar panels all you have to do is stick a couple on the roof and you can enjoy lovely free electricity. However, it does not work this way. Different solar panels have different levels of efficiency and it is important that you consider all of the factors involved when you are installing solar panels so that you can get the most from them.

The first point is the direction and the angle of your roof. For the most efficient energy generation the roof should be preferably be facing south, although they can work well on roofs that face east or west too. The angle that the roof is at should be between 10 and 60 degrees to ensure that the panels work at maximum efficiency. Flat roofs should be avoided.

Check out the area for shade too. If there is anything that might cast a shadow on the roof, such as a tree, then this can reduce the amount of light that your solar panels receive during the day. This is also a factor when considering the time of the year. Some units work well in dull weather, but obviously they will be able to produce more energy during the summer when the days are longer and there is more sunshine.

The temperature is an important factor. There should be a gap between the panel and the roof of a few inches so that the airflow can keep the unit cool. However, in countries such as the UK where high temperatures are rare, this is not so important. It may be necessary occasionally to clear dead leaves and other debris from the surface of the panel, although in most cases, the location and the angle of the panel mean that this will not be a problem.