Squire Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Squire, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.9 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.2 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.
Although you can easily predict sunrise and sunset hours each day to the minute, looking at latitude can help with your solar planning. The closer you get to the equator the closer your latitude gets to zero. Sunlight hours on the equator are consistent throughout the entire year. Places further from the equator can have large variance in daily sunlight. For example higher latitudes can have very long summer days with lots of sunlight and very dark winters. The latitude of Squire is 37.2.
Although most things are out of our control, like the sunrise, sunset or the weather, we can control the angle and the kind of mount we use for a solar panel. The angle of the solar panel, if using a fixed mount, should generally be around the angle that is equal to the latitude of the location to maximize output. In the northern hemisphere, panels angles should be lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months As a fixed mount is set, it is ideal to place it at an angle that will capture the most sunlight during the year. A 1-axis tracking solar mount will track the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset, but the angle will remain the same throughout the day. A 2-axis solar mount will track the sun throughout the day from East to West, but the angle will also change automatically as the seasons change and the angle of the sun in the sky changes. Thus, a 2-axis will have a higher rating of peak sun hours compared to the 1-axis or fixed.
Another reason to consider average peak sun hours is because weather can dramatically affect the day-to-day output of solar panels. It goes without saying that a dark stormy day will produce less output than a clear sunny day. Looking at a yearly average helps account for these daily variables.
By taking the latitude of Squire 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 Squire one can expect close to 4.9 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 5.5 hours per day, and 6.2 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.