Contemplating a solar upgrade for your home? First, you need to determine whether solar panels are a good investment for your home or not. How do you do that? Calculate your peak sun hours.
What Are Peak Sun-Hours?
People often mix up ‘peak sun-hours’ with ‘hours of daylight’. While the latter simply tells you for how long you can expect to get the sunlight on an average day, the former refers to the amount of solar energy a specific area gets during a typical day. The numbers signify the specific hours during which the intensity of sunlight is 1,000 watts per square meter. It is important to calculate peak sun hours because the effectiveness of your solar panels would depend on its exposure to the sun’s radiation. How much solar radiation your panels receive throughout a given day depends on the sun’s position in the sky, cloud covers, and other atmospheric conditions. Once you know the annual and seasonal average peak sun-hours for your area, you can determine whether solar is a good option for you or not.
Four Noteworthy Points About Sun Peak Hours
- Solar radiation is highest at noon when the sun is on the top of the sky. This is the time when you can derive maximum energy from the sunlight. In the early morning or toward the sunset hours, the sunrays fall in a low angle, which results in less energy being delivered to the earth’s surface.
- Throughout the summer months, the sun stays on a higher position in the sky. This extends sun-hours during this season.
- The nearer you are to the equator, the more energy your solar panels are likely to capture.
- Throughout the US, most places experience between three and five peak sun-hours on an average. However, the figure may slightly vary seasonally, with fewer hours in the winter.
Calculate Your Peak Sun-Hours
- Use an insolation (the amount of solar radiation) map to find out the amount of solar energy your home is likely to receive on an average day during both summer and winter months.
- In addition, consult charts and lists to gather more location and season specific data which will enable you to calculate the average number of peak sun-hours your panels are likely to receive.
- You should also install an insolation meter. All you need to do is place the meter under direct sunlight and it will supply you with facts relating to temperature and intensity of light. Use this information to estimate how much solar energy your rooftop arrays are capable of producing.
Want more information about the solar potential of your home? Get in touch with us. We can help you decide if solar makes an attractive option for your home.