Madison Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Madison, Indiana
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.6 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.8 hours per day
Peak sun hours is arguably the most important number to consider before installing your solar panels. Unlike total sun hours, peak sun hours are calculated by looking at the amount of sunlight hours in a 24 hour period that is strong enough to be absorb by a solar panel. One way to imagine peak sun hours is to think about a solar powered calculator you owned in school. If you covered the solar panel with your finger, or tried to use the calculator in the dark, the calculator would not work. As you slowly exposed the calculator to light the calculator would eventually turn on and be usable. The same is true with peak sun hours; these are the hours that your solar panels receive enough sunlight to work. Looking at the average peak sunlight hours of 4.6 per day can help you determine the amount of solar panels you need to install to power your home or business in Madison, Indiana.
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 Madison is 38.8.
They type of solar panel you use has an affect on the average peak sunlight hours. Some panels allow for movement, so they can track the sun as it rises in the east and sets in the west, or as the seasons change and the sun's path changes. A fixed panel remains fixed and does not have the ability to rotate, whereas a 1-axis and 2-axis panel can adjust with the sun.
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 Madison the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 4.6. 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 5.8 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.