Smithfield Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Smithfield, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.3 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.9 hours per day
Peak sun hours are a vital measurement to understand when considering the installation of solar panels. Peak sun hours are not the same as total sunlight hours because not every hour of sunlight during the day has enough strength and solar insolation to qualify as a peak sun hour. The rule of thumb is that a peak sun hour is when the intensity of the sun that is hitting your solar panel is providing at least 1,000 watts per square meter. This is an arbitrary number, but it is a number where most solar panels will be producing an efficient output and not underperforming due to sunshine that is not strong enough or direct enough.
Knowing the latitude of Smithfield 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.
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 39.5 for Smithfield. 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.
Looking at latitude, average peak sun hours and various data can obviously help when planning for your solar power needs. The one thing you can never fully account for is changing weather. Storms, rain, cloud coverage all have an impact on solar panel capabilities.
In Smithfield you can look at the average peak sun hours of a fixed solar panel mount, which will be 4.3 hours. This number iis an estimate based on data of previous years. With a tracking mount in Smithfield you could theoretically increase the amount of peak sun hours per with a 1-axis mount, and get 5 hours, or a 2-axis mount and potentially increase your average to 5.9 hours.