Jacob J. Brenner


Presentation: 9:00-10:15, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Optimizing photovoltaic (PV) panels beyond the use of additional technology is one method that many have analyzed to make PV panels as valuable as possible. It often comes in the form of orienting the tilt and azimuth of a panel for the most energy collected. This does improve the value of PV panels, but there are other considerations for the optimum orientation, as having the most energy collected does not guarantee the greatest value. This has culminated in a great amount of analysis of the optimum orientation for revenue over the past decade. The goal of this study was to add to this growing analysis by analyzing cases of commercial and residential buildings across four separate cities in the US using three separate possible tariff plans that are shared amongst every location. Results for savings were found for each location and building type for annual and biannual orientations using PVWatts API version 8. It was found that the maximum difference in the percentage of savings for an annual energy bill between a panel oriented for the purpose of energy and one for savings is 2.45% for annual and 3.12% for biannual. It was also found that when export value is nonexistent the optimum orientation will go for collection during peak hours, and when export value is overwhelmingly larger than the import the optimum orientation will go towards the times when electricity is used the least. It was also found that commercial buildings have their optimum revenue orientation closer to the optimum orientation for energy than residential buildings, and so the overall differences between the two orientations for savings for commercial buildings is smaller.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Rydge Blue Mulford

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium, School of Engineering

Institutional Learning Goals

Scholarship; Practical Wisdom; Community

PV Orientation Optimization for Residential & Commercial Buildings Considering Fixed & Bi-annual Orientation with a Constant or Varying Tariff