Design Tools – Calculating The Sun’s Path

The sun is an important influence on any permaculture design and has a huge effect when it interacts with a building, our gardens or solar PV. I thought it would be good to highlight some tools that are available to help us assess where the sun will be at any given point in time.

A Solar Pathfinder for Google Maps

SunCalc allows you to drag the tool to different points google maps. It shows you where the sun will rise, set, or be at a given moment on a specific day of the year. The shaded area shows the highest and lowest point for the sun over the year. 

Sun Path Chart Program
University of Oregon Solar Radiation Monitoring Laboratory

If you enter your latitude and longitude or just your zip code you can make a chart with this online tool. I find this chart very useful to print out and take to a site to help me estimate where the sun is in the sky at different times of the year.



The Solar Pathfinder

While expensive, the solar pathfinder is a neat tool that allows you to to see where the sun will be at a particular spot, at different times of the year. This gives a very accurate picture of where the sun and shade will be and is a useful tool that is often used by PV installers.



2 thoughts on “Design Tools – Calculating The Sun’s Path”

  1. The sun path chart is a real help … thanks for publishing the information.
    I know why the sun path is important … but, do you (or any readers of this posting) have a source-resource that I could use in my classes as to ‘why’ knowing the sun’s path is important = something I could put in the form of a hand-out …

    1. I don’t know of anything off hand. I would ask google. I would search for passive solar design, garden design, and solar panel sun angle…

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