It is for a fact that -crystaline solar panel perform the best when being placed vertically against the sun.
That is not always possible, especially when it comes to larger units, but it only takes some effort and diligence from the user to constantly align the smaller ones.
So I tried an placement experiment, at various angles that is. Λet’s see the difference in collected sun energy…
Solar Panel Placed Horizontally on the Ground
This is the lazy option for users, and an unavoidable one when it comes to camper vans etc.
At the time of the test (12:40 Daylight Saving Time) this position was close to being vertical to the sun also (maybe of a 3-5 degrees difference).
The volt/ampmeter showed 13.4V and 0.77A and that is 10.3W collected.
(please do not take this value at heart, it may be affected by my shadow when taking the meter’s pic)
Solar Panel Placed 45º Vertically to the Sun
This time the panels where placed to a 45º angle to the sun, the optimum angle for 10:00 and 16:00 hours for my location of 35º lat.
In that case we have 13.5V and 0.71A and that is 10.1W collected.
Solar Panel Placed 45º to the East
Τhe solar panels where placed turned 45 to the east, a position equivalent to 09:00 – 10:00 hours, simulating a positioned and just left there panel.
In this case we have 13.5V and 0.45A and that is 6.1W collected. This is costing the user a loss of 40% to the maximum.
Solar Panel Placed Vertically
This placement replicates the tendency of hanging one’s flexible panel on the backpack, to collect while on the move.
In this case we have 13.5V and 0.49A and that is 6.6W collected. Again a significant loss.
I am kina leery on this method, ‘cos it is not only the verticality induced losses. Οne has to assume that the hiker will be in the shadows for half of the time and turned away from the sun half of the rest of.
Accumulative losses can be expected to be 1/2 of 1/2 of the 66% to the maximum, or just 16.5%. i wonder if there is any point to it.
All in all, results were to be expected, and follow the performance calculated in this article: Solar Array Tilt Angle and Energy Output.
A twig driven in the ground can show you both the position of the sun and the proper angle for the solar panel. Just place the twig angled to where its shadow is the longest.
So, that is for now, I will have to return with more tests another time soon.