Cardiff Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Cardiff, Maryland
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.6 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.8 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.
Knowing that the latitude of Cardiff is 39.7 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.
The sun moves through the sky during the day, and changes positions in the sky throughout the year as the seasons change. A fixed solar panel remains fixed in position during this movement. So, although it is effective in capturing sunlight, a 1-axis or 2-axis panel can be more efficient. A 1-axis panel tracks the sun's movement throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. In addition to that, the 2-axis panel also accounts for the movement throughout the year.
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 Cardiff you can look at the average peak sun hours of a fixed solar panel mount, which will be 4.6 hours. This number iis an estimate based on data of previous years. With a tracking mount in Cardiff you could theoretically increase the amount of peak sun hours per with a 1-axis mount, and get 5.8 hours, or a 2-axis mount and potentially increase your average to 6.1 hours.