Kanawha Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Kanawha, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.9 hours per day
The average peak sun hours of Kanawha is a crucial measurable component needed to efficiently implement a solar power system in a home or business. Put simply, peak sun hours are the hours of sunlight a day that are strong enough to be efficiently absorbed by solar panels and eventually turned into usable electricity. Not every minute of sunlight during a day is strong enough to be useful to a solar power system. Think about just minutes after the sunrises, which officially counts towards total hours of sunlight, but is usually too weak to be counted in peak sun hours because the strength of the solar insolation is not strong enough near the horizon to be absorbed and turned into electricity at an efficient rate. Times during the day like this, where the sun is out but not strong enough, are not counted as peak sun hours. In other words, the amount of peak sun hours in a location will theoretically always be less than total sunlight hours for a given day.
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.
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.
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.
Since we know the latitude of Kanawha we can take the average amount of total sunlight hours and estimate that with a fixed solar panel there would be an average of 4.2 peak sun hours per day. 5.6 hours per day with a 1-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset, and 5.9 hours with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.