Grand Rapids Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Grand Rapids, Ohio
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.1 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.1 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.3 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 the latitude of Grand Rapids will help estimate average peak sun hours for your area. The latitude is used to accurately estimate the time of sunrise and sunset, thus giving you the total hours of daylight each day. Once you know the total hours of daylight, you can estimate the amount of peak sun hours based on a number of variables such as weather, time of year, the angle of the solar panel.
Depending on your output needs, to get more out of your solar panels you can either upgrade your technology, buy more panels, or buy different tracking type panels. A fixed solar panel remains fixed at one angle throughout the year. A 1-axis panel will produce more output because it follows the path of the sun from sunrise to sunset to maximize sun exposure. Even more productive is a 2-axis panel that not only follows the sun's path throughout the day, but also accounts for the more subtle sun changes throughout the year with the different seasons.
Climate in your geographical region is a major factor that will influence average peak sun hours per year. If you live in a region that does not have a lot of completely sunny days, then cloud coverage will greatly influence solar insolation on any given day. Mountains and trees may also contribute to lower solar insolation if they block the sun from your panels at any given point of the day.
In Grand Rapids the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 4.1. 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 5.3 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.