Maine Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Maine, Wisconsin
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.6 hours per day
Peak sun hours is arguably the most important number to consider before installing your solar panels. Unlike total sun hours, peak sun hours are calculated by looking at the amount of sunlight hours in a 24 hour period that is strong enough to be absorb by a solar panel. One way to imagine peak sun hours is to think about a solar powered calculator you owned in school. If you covered the solar panel with your finger, or tried to use the calculator in the dark, the calculator would not work. As you slowly exposed the calculator to light the calculator would eventually turn on and be usable. The same is true with peak sun hours; these are the hours that your solar panels receive enough sunlight to work. Looking at the average peak sunlight hours of 4 per day can help you determine the amount of solar panels you need to install to power your home or business in Maine, Wisconsin.
Your latitude is an indicator of when the sunrises and sunsets and certain times of the year. If you live near the equator with a latitude of near zero, the sun will rise and set close to the same time all year resulting in consistent total sunlight hours per day. If you live near the poles, the time of sunrise and sunset will vary dramatically with each season, resulting in long days for part of the year and very short days at other times. So, locations closer to the equator will have more consistent amounts of peak sun hours throughout the year than locations closer to the poles.
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.
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
We can take the latitude of Maine and use that number to know the amount of total sunlight hours in the region from sunlight to sunset and estimate that with a fixed solar panel, Maine will receive 4 average peak sun hours per day. This number can be increased to 5.5 hours by using a 1-axis tracking mount, or 5.6 hours from a 2-axis tracking mount.