Solar panels are user-friendly devices that can easily harness renewable energy at its best. However, did you know that there should be a gap between two solar panels as it is important for proper energy generation? So this raises the question of what should be the distance between them to avoid shading. Read this informative guide to know the most crucial aspect of PV installation.

What is the Gap Between Two Solar Panels?

Solar panels cannot be placed compactly because it affects their output. Hence, there should be some space between two solar panels and their rows. When talking about the distance between solar panels to avoid shading, there are certain factors you must consider.

There should be something like 4 to 7 inches of space between each row of solar panels, as the casing contracts and extends with the climate. This will help to ensure optimal efficiency and output.

In addition, in order to comply with building regulations and guarantee the safety of the array, there must be a space of at least 12 inches between the solar panels and the edge of the roof. The frame and glass of a 30W monocrystalline sunlight-based charger are constantly contracted and expanded based on the temperature.

Why is a Gap Required Between Solar Panels?

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Many of us wonder why we need a gap between solar panels.

The gap is necessary between solar panels due to the following reasons.

1. A gap is essential between these panels because they expand and contract depending on the temperature and weather.

2. If there is no space, the panels will press against one another, causing harm. This would lead to cracks and scratches on the surface, further leading to reduced efficiency.

3. Not only do you risk potential damages, but also your warranty becomes null and void if you fail to include spaces between the panels.

4. Installing solar panels too close to one another can decrease energy generation by 30%. Moreover, it is against building regulations to install solar panels close to each other.

5. Gaps play a crucial role as they prevent any potential collision between the panel frame and the glass covering. While both components are sturdy, their design does not account for impacts.

6. It is crucial to create enough space between the modules to prevent them from overheating.

Also See: How Many Solar Panels for a House in Canada are Required?

What Should be the Distance Between Two Solar Panels to Avoid Shading?

So, after reading about the gap between two solar panels, you now know that the gaps between solar panels are important for many reasons. The minimum distance between rows of PV panels when placed on the ground in an open space or on a flat roof is important to avoid the shading effect over the panels. It should be 1.2 times the height of the solar module from the ground.

This distance is mainly dependent on:

  • The dimensions of the panel
  • The geographic location
  • The angle that makes the panel with the ground
  • The orientation of the panels

Based on these parameters, you can calculate the minimum distance between the panels, so they do not over-shadow each other.

Also Read: Why Are My Solar Panels Not Producing Enough Power?

Can Solar Panels Touch Each Other?

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If you are confused about it, the answer to this question depends upon the type of solar panels (flexible versus rigid) and the installation guidelines provided by the manufacturer for proper installation.

Generally, there is space between and around solar panels to accommodate for possible expansion and retraction. However, it is still advisable to follow the guidelines of the manufacturer for that particular brand of solar panels.

If interested, check out our blog- Understanding the Specifications of Solar Panels and How to Read Them

How Much Gap Should Be Between the Solar Panels and the Roof?

Talking about the gap between solar panels and the roof, the distance between the last row of solar panels and the edge of the roof should be a minimum of 12 inches. This ensures the panels have enough space as they expand and contract during the day.

How Much Gap Should be Between Solar Panel Rows?

The distance between two rows of solar panels should be five to six inches. This is how far apart should solar panels be.

It is also recommended that you leave 1 to 3 feet of space between every second or third row. This space is necessary for maintenance workers to have enough room to get on the roof and make repairs whenever necessary.

Cross-Reference: The Effect of Gap Spacing Between Solar Panel Clusters on Crop Biomass Yields, Nutrients, and the Microenvironment in a DualUse Agrivoltaic System

How Much Space Between Solar Panels Mounted on Racks?

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The ideal space between solar panels mounted on racks should be around 4-7 inches. This is how far apart solar panels should be. This space is required to accommodate the expansion and contraction of solar panels due to changes in weather conditions. This gap also ensures that there is optimal efficiency and output by the panels.

You can also go through the 16 Ways to Increase Solar Panel Efficiency.

What is the Ideal Gap Between the Support and the Rail?

Apart from the mentioned recommendations, it is also important to ensure that there is a distance of approximately 12 to 16 inches between the initial support and the rail’s end. Excessive space between the rails can lead to panel bouncing, which can be particularly problematic during strong winds or heavy storms. This can damage the panels as well as harm people near them, if any.

Furthermore, in order to ensure stability and provide proper support, it is essential to install rail splices between two rail pieces. Attach each panel securely to two rails, ensuring that the rails are of sufficient length to accommodate all the panels you want to install.

Also Read: 24 Most Common Solar Panel Problems With Solutions

What Should the Spacing Between Rafters be?

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The average roof has 16-inch spacing for rafters. The standoffs have a 48-inch spacing between each post.

For example, you want to install 4 solar modules, each measuring 65 ×— 39 inches. The combined dimensions of the four panels equal 160 inches.

Now, if your rail is 160 inches long or more than this, then you will have enough space for solar panels. Even if the rail is longer than required, you can cut off the extra part.

After going through this comprehensive guide, you know what should be the gap between two solar panels to increase its effectiveness. It is important to maintain the minimum distance to avoid harming the panels as well as keeping the energy generation high. Although it is a simple device, it is always best to research well and follow guidelines to avoid any mishaps.

Source: What is the spacing between solar panels?


Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet's long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Olivia,

    Many of the pictures you see show panels butting right up against each other, in an array of maybe 3×4 or 4×4 panels. I understand the convective cooling requirements. That granted, what do suppliers say about the number of panels that could safely be arrayed tightly without risking expansion-contraction damage?


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