Ingalls Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Ingalls, Indiana
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.1 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.3 hours per day
It goes without saying that throughout the year the amount of sunlight in any given day is going to vary. The time of year and weather will have a strong influence on daily sunshine. Looking at the average amount of peak sunshine hours in a day during an entire year stretch is a valuable exercise when trying to determine the amount and type of solar panels you need to install to power your business or your home. 4.2 peak sun hours means that in Ingalls on average there are 4.2 hours a day where the sun is strong enough for solar panels to harness its energy. This number is less than the amount of total sunlight hours in a day because there are times during the day (ex. sunrise and sunset) where the sun is not strong enough to benefit solar panels.
Although you can easily predict sunrise and sunset hours each day to the minute, looking at latitude can help with your solar planning. The closer you get to the equator the closer your latitude gets to zero. Sunlight hours on the equator are consistent throughout the entire year. Places further from the equator can have large variance in daily sunlight. For example higher latitudes can have very long summer days with lots of sunlight and very dark winters. The latitude of Ingalls is 40.0.
Although most things are out of our control, like the sunrise, sunset or the weather, we can control the angle and the kind of mount we use for a solar panel. The angle of the solar panel, if using a fixed mount, should generally be around the angle that is equal to the latitude of the location to maximize output. In the northern hemisphere, panels angles should be lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months As a fixed mount is set, it is ideal to place it at an angle that will capture the most sunlight during the year. A 1-axis tracking solar mount will track the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset, but the angle will remain the same throughout the day. A 2-axis solar mount will track the sun throughout the day from East to West, but the angle will also change automatically as the seasons change and the angle of the sun in the sky changes. Thus, a 2-axis will have a higher rating of peak sun hours compared to the 1-axis or fixed.
Weather is one of the major culprits that will cause inconsistent total peak sun hours for any given day. The sunrise and sunset will always be predictable every day, but the weather is hard to predict and cloud coverage can greatly diminish the efficiency of a solar power system on any given day. On the bright side, a location that is known to have cloudy weather a majority of the year could have unexpectedly more sunny days, so it can go both ways.
In Ingalls 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 5.1 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 6.3 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.