Where you install your off-grid solar system could be critical to it's performance. The following are somethings to look for when siting your system.
The solar array should be facing True South to maximize energy production throughout the year. If you are using a magnetic compass to site your solar array, be sure to adjust for declination. If your solar array is a little to the East or West (+/- 10 deg) this will have a minimal impact on performance; however, greater than that and you may need to add solar modules to compensate.
The tilt angle of the solar array should be adjusted to maximize the energy production in the month with the lowest solar resource. This is typically December, and for most of the USA, means a tilt angle of 45-55 deg. Note: this is very different than a grid-tied system where you are trying to maximize the energy production throughout the year, and therefore would use a lower tilt angle.
Just avoid it. Even a small amount of shading can have a big impact on system performance. Shading just a single solar cell reduces the output of the entire module to zero. Sometimes it is hard to avoid it early in the morning or late at night, but ideally it should be clear from 9 am to 3 pm.
So it's best to install your solar system where the solar array can face South at a 45-55 deg tilt and not be shaded from 9 am to 3 pm.
If you have questions on the best place to install your solar system, contact us and we would be happy to help.