Columbus Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Columbus, Indiana
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.7 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.2 hours per day
The average amount of peak sun hours in a day is a different and more useful number as it relates to solar panels than total sun hours. Total sun hours are exactly what you would expect; the total amount of hours that the sun is out during a 24 hour period. Peak sun hours, on the other hand, are the total number of hours in a day where the sunshine is strong enough to to be absorbed and used by solar panels. Sunlight early in the morning or late at night is often not strong enough to count toward peak sun hours. Because of this, total sun hours will always be more than peak sun hours. Looking at the average peak sun hours in Columbus throughout the year can help you better estimate the amount of solar panels you will need to power your business or home.
The latitude of the location is important for measuring peak sun hours. The latitude determines how much overall sunlight there will be in a day. With a given latitude, time and date, one can accurately determine when sunrise and sunset will occur. Areas with latitudes closer to the equator will have a more consistent range of solar insolation throughout the year. Whereas areas closer to the poles will have a greater variance during the summer and winter months due to their higher latitudes.
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.
Although weather predicting technology has greatly evolved over time, it is still a rather unpredictable factor that will affect the amount of peak sun hours your solar power system will receive. Cloudy days for example will usually have lower peak sun hours that a clear sunny day. And areas that usually have more average sunny days per year will probably have higher peak sun hours that areas that are often overcast or stormy.
Using the latitude of Columbus along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 4.2 hours per day in this area. That number can be increased with better technology including add a 1-axis or 2-axis tracking mount, which would increase the average peak sun hours per day to 5.7 hours and 6.2 hours, respectively.