Baltimore Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Baltimore, Ohio
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.2 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.5 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 less than peak sun hours. Looking at the average peak sun hours in Baltimore throughout the year can help you better estimate the amount of solar panels you will need to power your business or home.
Knowing that the latitude of Baltimore is 39.8 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.
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.
The sun is a great ball of gas that rises and sets every day that the earth rotates while in orbit around the sun. Barring any major disasters this is a very predictable occurance every day. Latitude helps predict this even more, narrowing it down to the minute for sunrise and sunset. But some things aren’t as predictable that will greatly influence the efficiency of solar panels. Weather and cloud coverage for example can greatly diminish peak sun hours on any given day. Thick storm clouds will block a high percentage of the sun's rays, resulting in lower output of your solar panels. Weather needs to be factored into deciding when to use your system, or how much output one expects to get.
By taking the latitude of Baltimore one can get a close estimate of the amount of average peak sun hours per day for the geographical area. It varies with technology and the type of solar panel mount you use, but for a fixed mount solar panel in Baltimore one can expect close to 4 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 5.2 hours per day, and 5.5 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.