Madison Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Madison, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.3 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.4 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
Peak sun hours is one of the most important criteria to examine when considering installing a solar power system. Peak sun hours are different than total sunlight hours in a day because the strength of the radiation of the sun varies throughout the day. For example, during sunrise and sunset the solar insolation from the sun is less powerful than at noon. For a moment of sunshine to be considered a peak sun hour the intensity needs to be at least 1 kilowatt per square meter. This means that a square meter of your solar panel should be receiving 1 kilowatt of energy from the sun. This number is used because it is an amount of light that allows a solar panel to produce output efficiently and not under perform due to lack of sunlight power.
Knowing the latitude of Madison 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.
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.
The sunrise and sunset is very predictable every day, but things like cloud coverage and weather are less predictable and vary daily and annually. If a location that is usually very sunny experiences a huge increase in storms and cloud coverage in a given year than the average peak sun hours for that day or year will probably decrease. Tall objects such as trees and buildings can block out the sun during high solar insolation times, so be sure to strategically place your solar panels to get better efficiency.
Since we know the latitude of Madison we can take the average amount of total sunlight hours and estimate that with a fixed solar panel there would be an average of 4.3 peak sun hours per day. 5.4 hours per day with a 1-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset, and 5.6 hours with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.