Alhambra Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Alhambra, Illinois
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.2 hours per day
Peak sun hours are a vital measurement to understand when considering the installation of solar panels. Peak sun hours are not the same as total sunlight hours because not every hour of sunlight during the day has enough strength and solar insolation to qualify as a peak sun hour. The rule of thumb is that a peak sun hour is when the intensity of the sun that is hitting your solar panel is providing at least 1,000 watts per square meter. This is an arbitrary number, but it is a number where most solar panels will be producing an efficient output and not underperforming due to sunshine that is not strong enough or direct enough.
Knowing that the latitude of Alhambra is 38.9 can be helpful for understanding total sunlight hour variance. As you approach the equator latitude approaches zero. The closer the latitude is to zero, the more consistent the daily sunlight hours are throughout the year. Total sunlight hour consistency simply makes planning for your solar power needs easier, but it is certainly not a requirement.
There are a few ways to increase average peak sun hours per year for your solar power system. One way is to use a tracking mount solar panel instead of a fixed tilt solar panel. A 1-axis mount will track the sun throughout the sky from sunrise to sunset, giving your panel a more efficient facing direction towards the sun throughout the day. A 2-axis solar panel will track the sun in the sky throughout the day, but also change and follow the angle of the sun in the sky throughout the year. Both of these axis system solar panels will produce higher average peak sun hours than a fixed solar panel.
Another reason to consider average peak sun hours is because weather can dramatically affect the day-to-day output of solar panels. It goes without saying that a dark stormy day will produce less output than a clear sunny day. Looking at a yearly average helps account for these daily variables.
In Alhambra the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 4.2. This is for a fixed panel mounted at an angle that is equal to the latitude of the location for the entire year. The amount of peak sun hours increases to 5.6 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 6.2 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.