Middleway Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Middleway, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.6 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.3 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.2 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 that the latitude of Middleway is 39.3 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.
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.
There are more variables than latitude that can change average peak sun hours. Weather patterns and geography will influence solar insolation that reaches your system. Thick grey storm clouds for example will block out a lot of the sun to the point where there may be no peak sun hours in the middle of the day when the sun is usually very powerful. Trees and mountains can deflect the sunlight, so be sure your solar panel is selectively placed.
By taking the latitude of Middleway 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 Middleway one can expect close to 4.6 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 5.3 hours per day, and 6.2 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.