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Journal of Renewable Energy
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 307547, 12 pages
Research Article

An Algorithm to Determine the Optimum Tilt Angle of a Solar Panel from Global Horizontal Solar Radiation

Department of Physics, University of Messina, Viale D'Alcontres 31, 98166 Messina, Italy

Received 19 December 2012; Revised 24 February 2013; Accepted 1 March 2013

Academic Editor: Jayanta Deb Mondol

Copyright © 2013 Emanuele Calabrò. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper proposes an algorithm to calculate the optimum tilt angle of solar panels by means of global horizontal solar radiation data, provided from Earth-based meteorological stations. This mathematical modeling is based on the maximization of the theoretical expression of the global solar irradiation impinging on an inclined surface, with respect to the slope and orientation of the panel and to the solar hour angle. A set of transcendent equations resulted, whose solutions give the optimum tilt and orientation of a solar panel. A simulation was carried out using global horizontal solar radiation data from the European Solar Radiation Atlas and some empirical models of diffuse solar radiation. The optimum tilt angle resulted was related to latitude by a linear regression with significant correlation coefficients. The standard error of the mean values resulted increased significantly with latitude, suggesting that unreliable values can be provided at high latitudes.