Princeton Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Princeton, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.5 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 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.
The equator has a latitude of zero while Princeton has a latitude of 37.4. Any city located on the equator will receive the most sunlight throughout the year because the sunlight arrives at a perpendicular 90 degree angle to the earth at the equator. The further you are from the equator the more your daily sunlight hours can vary.
Since a fixed solar panel is set in one position it is ideal to place it at an angle that will expose the panel to the most sunlight throughout the year. This angle is generally the same angle of your latitude which is 37.4 for Princeton. You do not need to strategically place a 1-axis or 2-axis panel as much as you do a fixed panel. A 1-axis panel follows the movement of the sun during the day. Additionally, a 2-axis panel also adjusts for the suns various positions in the sky throughout the year.
Weather is a big determinate of average peak sun hours each day. There are many aspects of weather that can increase or lessen the peak sun hours in a day in a particular location. For example cloud coverage is a crucial variable. And more importantly, what type of cloud coverage; thin scattered clouds will have less diminishing power on the solar insolation than thick rainy storm clouds. Sometimes long periods of sunny days are rare in certain locations, this would increase average peak sun hours for that time-frame
Using the latitude of Princeton along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 4.5 hours per day in this area. That number can be increased with better technology including add a 1-axis or 2-axis tracking mount, which would increase the average peak sun hours per day to 5.5 hours and 6 hours, respectively.