Smithers Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Smithers, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.4 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.7 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.
If you open the newspaper in the morning or watch the weather channel on the news you can get an accurate prediction of sunrise and sunset each day for Smithers. However, still knowing that the latitude of Smithers is 38.2 can be a helpful number for your solar panel setup and planning. The closer your latitude is to zero the closer you are to the equator. At the equator you find the most consistent total sunlight hours throughout any given day of the year. As your latitude increases you can see larger discrepancies of daily sunlight hours during the year. For example, having very long summer days and very short and dark winter days
The sun moves through the sky during the day, and changes positions in the sky throughout the year as the seasons change. A fixed solar panel remains fixed in position during this movement. So, although it is effective in capturing sunlight, a 1-axis or 2-axis panel can be more efficient. A 1-axis panel tracks the sun's movement throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. In addition to that, the 2-axis panel also accounts for the movement throughout the year.
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 Smithers the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 4.2. 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 5.4 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 5.7 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.