If you’ve been thinking about installing solar panels in your home, the question of whether or not your home gets enough sunlight has probably crossed your mind. More important, however, than the total number of sunlight hours are actually the peak sun hours. In order to determine what kind of return on investment you will receive by installing solar panels in your home, it’s imperative to understand the meaning of peak sun hours and why they matter for your solar panel installation.
What Are Peak Sun Hours?
This term refers to periods of the day when the sun emits at least 1000 W/m2 of sunlight intensity (energy). Certain locations in one’s home are better able to accept this type of sunlight than others, so it is important to understand this concept when deciding where to place solar panels. Homeowners want to get the most energy from sunlight as possible, so fully comprehending their home’s ability to take in solar energy is crucial.
Peak Sun Hours Vs. Regular Sunlight Hours
There are significant differences between peak and regular sunlight hours. Regular sunlight hours refer to the hours between sunrise and sunset. Simply put, these are all of the hours that the sun is shining in the sky. Unfortunately, just because the sun is shining doesn’t mean it is at peak intensity. Peak sun hours are those that generate the optimal amount of radiation needed to power solar panels and generate energy. If 1,000w/m2 of sunlight for one hour equals one peak hour then 3 hours at about 335w/m2 is also equivalent to one peak sun hour. PA, MD, NJ, and NY average about 3.5 peak hours per day throughout the year. Additionally, Florida gets an average of 4.5 peak hours per day.
Ideal Number of Hours For Solar Panels
The number of peak sun hours required for a solar panel primarily depends on location. Where you live will heavily affect the number of peak sun hours your home will receive. There are various factors that will affect the amount of peak hour sun the location you live in will receive. For example, in regions where the sun is closer to the horizon, and during summertime months, peak sun hours are more prevalent, therefore requiring fewer solar panels to generate energy. On the other side of the spectrum, in regions with less sunlight, and during wintertime months, more solar panels will be needed to capture sunlight. On average, about 4 peak sun hours are required per each solar panel.
How to Choose the Right Solar Panel to Gather Enough Hours
The first thing homeowners should do when deciding to invest in solar energy is to research the different solar panel brands. Solar panels can be expensive so it’s essential to purchase a high-quality product that won’t need to be repaired or replaced immediately. Finding the right solar panel from the beginning will save you both time and money.
Once you’ve decided which brand you want to go with, it’s important to understand how much electricity your home needs. If the solar panel you decide on requires a significant amount of energy to power your home, you’ll probably want to go with a more expensive model that generates energy more efficiently than a lesser option. This will help you save on solar energy costs and expenses in the long run.
Last but not least, it is advisable to always buy solar panels that can be secured safely onto the roof of your house. Since solar panels are out in the open, they will need to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions. Make sure you go with a reputable brand that has experienced solar panel experts on staff, and you can’t go wrong.