13 Solar Aspect

Understanding the way the sun moves across the sky and changes throughout the seasons is a crucial part of creating a design that is responsive to the existing conditions of a place. Mapping solar aspects and the ensuing micro-climates is a step on the path of creating a Permaculture design.

The sun can be the most important sector to map for your design site, depending how close or far you are from the equator. Especially in temperate zones, which tend to be further from the equator, mapping the sun sector and designing in response to that sun sector is of utmost importance. The video below provides a basic outline of how to map solar sectors.

It can be very challenging to fully comprehend the sectors in a two-dimensional format, like this screen! The best way to learn how the sun moves across the sky is to observe it over time throughout the seasons. The goal is to internalize the sector compass, where when you show up at a location and identify the cardinal directions, you automatically know where the sun will rise and set on the Summer and Winter Solstices’ and equinoxes. This gives you a tool for quick site analysis, where you can read the conditions of a place and understand some of the major design parameters in an instant of observation.

Explore Solar Sector Resources

Explore solar sectors by clicking on the links below. These provide some tools and perspectives for better understanding the solar aspect and the seasonal movement of the sun.

Passive Solar Design

Solar Positioning


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Introduction to Permaculture Copyright © 2019 by Andrew Millison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.