West Liberty Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for West Liberty, West Virginia
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.3 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.5 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.
The latitude of the location is important for measuring peak sun hours. The latitude determines how much overall sunlight there will be in a day. With a given latitude, time and date, one can accurately determine when sunrise and sunset will occur. Areas with latitudes closer to the equator will have a more consistent range of solar insolation throughout the year. Whereas areas closer to the poles will have a greater variance during the summer and winter months due to their higher latitudes.
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.
Weather is one of the major culprits that will cause inconsistent total peak sun hours for any given day. The sunrise and sunset will always be predictable every day, but the weather is hard to predict and cloud coverage can greatly diminish the efficiency of a solar power system on any given day. On the bright side, a location that is known to have cloudy weather a majority of the year could have unexpectedly more sunny days, so it can go both ways.
By taking the latitude of West Liberty 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 West Liberty one can expect close to 4.3 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 5.6 hours per day, and 6.5 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.