Rooftop solar panels in North America face south. That’s just the way we do it. But California recently began to incentivize west-facing panels over south-facing solar.
New guidelines from the California Energy Commission call for a 15 percent higher rebates for west-facing solar arrays than for south-facing solar panels.
While solar panels collect more energy overall when they point toward the equator, that annual energy advantage isn’t as important as generating more clean energy in the early evening hours when Californians arrive home from work and turn on their air conditions, televisions and microwaves.
Facing rooftop solar panels toward the setting sun, can increase late-day energy production by as much as 50 percent, according to recent studies.