Braddock Heights Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Braddock Heights, Maryland
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.4 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.2 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.1 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.
If you’re using a fixed axis and fixed tilt solar panel, the ideal angle of the panel mount should be set at an angle equal to or close to the latitude of the location of the panel. Latitude is a valuable measurement to use when figuring how many daylight hours and the angle of the sun in the sky for your location. Since at locations with a higher latitude the sun will find itself at more variable angles in the sky throughout the year it is important to set the angle of the panel correctly and efficiently capture more peak sun hours. In the Northern Hemisphere the sun will be at lower angles in the Southern sky in the winter, and higher angles during the summer months, so the angle of the panel is crucial when trying to maximize output.
A tracking mount will increase the average peak sun hours for a solar power system. Think about a panel that is tracking the sun in the sky vs a panel that is fixed and not moving: you will see a higher efficiency ratio of productions. A 1-axis mount will track the sun from East to West from sunrise to sunset and move on a single axis of rotation. A 2-axis mount will track the Sun from East to West the same as a 1-axis mount would, but it will also track the angle of the sun in the sky as it slowly varies season to season. A 2-axis mount is more necessary in high latitude regions where the angle of the sun in the sky changes dramatically between each equinox.
There are more variables than latitude that can change average peak sun hours. Weather patterns and geography will influence solar insolation that reaches your system. Thick grey storm clouds for example will block out a lot of the sun to the point where there may be no peak sun hours in the middle of the day when the sun is usually very powerful. Trees and mountains can deflect the sunlight, so be sure your solar panel is selectively placed.
Since we know the latitude of Braddock Heights we can take the average amount of total sunlight hours and estimate that with a fixed solar panel there would be an average of 4.4 peak sun hours per day. 5.2 hours per day with a 1-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset, and 6.1 hours with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.