How Many Sun Hours Do You Get?
If you’re switching to solar, you’ll want to assess how many sun hours you get in your geographic area. This will give you a fairly accurate estimate of the production of your system.
Every area has different peak sun hours. They vary based on sunlight intensity in the state or zip code, and they can make a dramatic difference in the effectiveness of your solar panels. In this blog, we’ll discuss what peak sun hours are and how you can use them to your advantage.
What Are Peak Sun Hours?
When you hear the term “peak sun hours,” you may equate this concept to daylight. However, peak sun hours describe the intensity of the sunlight in an area. It’s specifically defined as an hour of sunlight that reaches an average of 1,000 watts of power per square meter (around 10.5 feet).
When you have solar panels, they may receive an average of 7-8 hours of daylight. However, their peak sun hours may only be 4 or 5 of those hours. If you’re closer to the equator, you’ll have more peak sun hours, and if you’re farther from the equator, then you’ll fewer peak sun hours. Additionally, all areas should have more peak sun hours in the summer months. Winter figures for daily solar gains may be anywhere from 25 to 50 percent less than your area’s average hours.
To find your peak sun hours, search for a “peak sun hours” map. Locations around the United States vary widely in their peak sun hours. The average U.S. location has between 3 to 5 peak sun hours. Before you install solar panels, however, you’ll want to understand the peak sun hours in your area to see if it’s a worthwhile investment.
How Much Sun Do Solar Panels Need?
To produce their maximum output, solar panels need direct sunlight. When installing them, you should face the panels in a southward direction and install them in an area where they are not shaded by obstructions such as trees. Even a small amount of shade can impact the power output of a solar panel.
Why is this? It’s because solar panel cells are connected in a series. Thus, any cell that’s impacted by shade will weaken the other cell panels. When this occurs, your overall power level is reduced.
Before going solar, check that the area you intend to put your solar panels in has minimal or no shading. You can also use a string inverter with maximum power point tracking (MPPT). This will help to minimize output losses associated with partial shading.
If you’re interested in getting solar panels or would like to see a solar panel design on your home: Visit www.diysolarcompany.com and fill out our form!