How to Calculate Your Peak Sun Hours
For Southern Californians, summer temperatures will soon be upon us, which means air conditioning costs will soar as more electricity is being consumed. For homeowners with solar panels, they won’t experience this energy suck and drain on their bank account. However, to keep up the savings and potential checks from the electric company for purchased energy credits, it’s imperative that homeowners know their peak sun hours and how to calculate them.
What Are Peak Sun Hours?
Homeowners assume while solar panels are exposed to sunlight half or even most of the day, this translates to the most stored energy. This contributes to homeowners’ energy, but it’s not the most accurate representation of how much energy solar panels are producing. Instead, it’s helpful to determine the hour or hours between which those solar panels are absorbing at least 1,000 watts per square meter.
The curvature of the earth changes the sun’s position in the sky. A home’s location will determine how many hours of sun there is, and how intense the sun’s rays are. This is all great news for Southern Californian homeowners.
These factors all contribute to peak sun hours based on atmospheric conditions, location, position in the sky, time of day and more:
- Time of Day: Solar noon is often considered the peak of solar radiation and peak sun hours. This is because the sun is highest in the sky. In contrast to sunrise and sunset, the sun is positioned at a low angle, filtering more sunlight and less energy being absorbed by solar panels.
- Season: The hot months of summer and the higher position in the sky often increases peak sun hours.
- Geography: Communities closer to the equator gain more solar energy due to their proximity to the sun.
Calculating Available Sunlight the Easy Way
By determining peak sun hours, homeowners are better able to make informed decisions on purchasing solar panels. Within the continental United States, most homeowners can expect to receive between 3 and 5 peak sun hours. This is based on location, seasonal sunlight, and the influence of atmospheric changes such as clouds and fog. Some communities experience more hours of sunlight than others. The southwest states receive more sunlight hours compared to areas like Maine or New Hampshire.
Homeowners can Google insolation maps and charts for more information. However, an easier way to calculate specific homeowners’ peak sun hours is really through an insolation meter. An insolation meter is able to calculate temperature, light intensity and solar power supply to solar panels. Because Southern California gets so much sun during the year, averaging 278 days – a solar installation is a no brainer for most homeowners. Ready to start saving money on your electric bill? Give the energy experts at SunPro Solar a call to schedule your free no-obligation consultation today! 951-678-7733