Monalee is waiving the security deposit ($100 value) on new solar projects. Promotion expires 6/18/24.

Does Altitude Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?

Solar panels at higher altitudes receive more direct solar radiation and therefore more power output.

Megan McDonough
Head of Content
Does Altitude Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?
Jun 06, 2024
3 min read

If you’re read our solar guide to weather, you’ll know that solar panels are efficient in just about all weather conditions. Yes, weather plays a role in how efficient your system is, but not as much as you might think. 

Remember, solar panels are built for long-term use. Similar to suitcase testing, solar panels go through rigorous rounds of testing to make sure that they’re as durable as designed. 

During these tests, they’re met with all types of weather conditions–rain, hail, sleet, snow, you name it–as well as other obstacles they could come in contact with such as baseballs and fallen tree branches. 

Does Altitude Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?

The link between altitude and solar panel efficiency 

When it comes to generating power from the sun, what matters most is the amount of sunlight your panels receive per day, more so than the air temperature. In fact, days that reach up to 95℉ aren’t all that great for efficiency. 

As it turns out, altitude does play a role in solar panel efficiency. Studies show that panels that are at higher altitudes can be more efficient than those at the ground level simply because they are receiving more direct solar radiation. Higher altitude increases production due to there being less atmosphere for the solar radiation to pass through.

In short, the more solar radiation the panels have, the more power output. Plus, at higher altitudes there are fewer clouds and air molecules to ‘compete with’ for direct solar radiation.

The link between altitude and solar panel efficiency 

Other factors connected to solar efficiency

Aside from altitude, roof pitch, navigational direction, and solar panel type can contribute to greater output. 

1. A roof’s azimuth and pitch

As a recap, azimuth is the navigational direction that solar panels face. For example, a roof in the northern hemisphere that faces south will get the most sun and therefore will be the most efficient. More specifically, an azimuth angle of 180-degrees is optimal because it forms that perpendicular angle (the angle at which they are most productive) and is oriented directly true South.

The pitch of a roof refers to the angle of a roof. Think of it as a slope or slant. A roof pitch between 15 and 40 degrees will keep solar panels in the sun longer compared with other setups.

2. The quality of your equipment

Homeowners who go solar with Monalee will have Mitrex M405-L3H installed on their homes. Mitrex panels feature advanced cell technology, high performing modules, and are able to withstand high snow and wind conditions. 

Mitrex also falls under the  ‘Tier One’ category for solar panels, and therefore meets the highest standards in terms of quality and efficiency. Tier One solar panels have a rate of 0.30% denigration year over year, while Tier Two has 0.50% and Tier Three has 0.80-percent. 

3. Existing or potential roof obstacles

When assessing whether or not solar is right for you, consider any and all roof obstacles that might cause gaps in your system’s energy production. Roof obstacles are physical elements placed on the roof–chimneys and roof vents to name a few–that prevent the installation of a solar panel.  Even something as small as a leaf covering part of a panel can negatively impact solar power output.

Other factors connected to solar efficiency

Thinking of going solar? Now is the perfect time! 

Monalee is waiving the security despot ($100 value) on new solar projects. Plus, solar is a great way to cut energy costs this season.

Design your solar

Get a free quote in seconds

Get Price
Your quote
Solar Panels
$9,093.00 ($1.75/watt)
*After Federal & State Incentives $3,897.00
System size:
Number of Solar Panels
Tier 1 Black on black