### Sun hour charts

In short: How much electricity a solar panel makes depends on how much sun it gets, which can vary greatly day-by-day. Image source: Geloven thuis. An example used by Solar Energy International in their online solar energy job training class.

In the above example, five solar panels each rated to produce watts under full sun are shown on two different days. Put simply, a peak sun hour is an hour during which the sun shines at an intensity of 1, watts per square meter. During the day, as the sun moves across the sky, it shines with varying levels of intensity. Source: University of Duisburg-Essen.

When the sun is highest in the sky, it shines down with an average intensity of 1, watts or 1 kilowatt, or kW per square meter.

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Of course, the sun is at its peak in the sky for only a short time, so the graph of the intensity of the sun looks like a bell curve, with low intensity as the sun rises and sets, and high intensity during the middle of the day. In order to create a useful number that can help determine the average amount of sunlight available in a day, the measurements of watts of energy available during all hours of daylight are added up and then divided by 1, The average daily solar irradiance bell curve and equivalent peak sun hours.

Source: National Technical University of Athens. If you know the average daily peak sun hours for your location, you can calculate the kWh your solar panels will make on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Source: NREL. As an example, imagine a 1-kW solar installation in Dallas, TX. That means our 1-kW solar installation will generate about 5. Of course, the sun is higher in the sky during the summer months and lower in the winter, so there is a monthly difference.

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If you live in a state with good net metering rulesyou can get credit for the extra solar energy your panels produce during sunny months. The real reason anyone bothers to calculate the number of peak sun hours is to quickly estimate how much energy a solar panel installation will make over time.

If you live in a state without net metering protections, your utility company might offer you a minimal credit for those extra kilowatt-hours. They might not be required to give you any credit for your electricity at all! Okay, that was a lot of math and explanation. There is! The National Renewable Energy Laboratory made a great tool to estimate solar production, and we can tell you how to use it!

Absolutely right, Phillip! The map above from NREL estimates insolation when the panels are tilted at latitude all year round. You can eke out a bit extra by re-titling your panels a couple times a year, but this is a pretty decent estimate of what the average fixed-tilt system enjoys.

Peak sun hours: solar panel output per day, month and year. Other solar power posts you may like: How to calculate the amount of kilowatt hours kWh your solar panel system will produce How much electricity does a solar panel produce?

How much energy does the sun produce?All garden plants have a degree of daily sunlight exposure under which they will thrive, and when you buy trees, shrubs, potted seedlings, or vegetable or flower seeds, the ideal sunlight requirements are almost always printed on the tag, label, or seed package.

The terms used to describe sunlight requirements quickly become familiar to anyone who works with plants:. Since it is a relatively easy matter to simply choose plants based on the specifications on labels, the real challenge becomes in determining just how much sunlight you really get in your yard.

This can be more difficult than you think.

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While there are gadgets available that measure sunlight exposure, measuring in this way is not an exact science. Climates where a rainless summer day usually includes clouds that come and go may give identical readings to a region where a rainless summer day means piercing blue, cloudless skies from morning to night. Another way to measure average sunlight exposure is to simply observe, checking your planting location every 30 minutes or so throughout the daylight hours over a week or two and determining an average time that the site spends bathed in sunlight uninterrupted by shade.

Once you have determined this, it is an easy enough matter to choose plants that match the conditions of the site, as specified by the plant labels.

### Sunrise / Sunset Times

A garden site is considered full sun as long as it gets at least 6 full hours of direct sunlight on most days. One way around this is to site these sensitive plants where they will get more of their sun in the morning when it is cool. As long as the plants get at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, they should grow well.

Before choosing a plant, do a bit of research on the species to determine if there are limitations on the "full sun" requirement. Those that are sensitive to heat will usually come with cautions that it requires some shelter in the afternoon in hot climates. Of course, there are also many plants that will thrive in more than 6 hours of daily sun.

These are well suited to handle dry growing conditions once they become established. Whatever full sun plants you choose, a thick layer of mulch will help conserve moisture in the soil and keep the roots cool. Plants that prefer full sun is by far the largest group you will encounter. The vast majority of flowering annuals and perennials will enjoy full sun, provided their moisture requirements are met.

Vegetable gardens also are generally best positioned in the very sunniest location you can find, although a few vegetables and herbs mostly the leafy types will tolerate some shade. The terms "partial or part sun" and "partial shade" are often used interchangeably to mean 3 to 6 hours of sun exposure each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning and early afternoon.

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However, there is a subtle difference:. This is a somewhat rare term, but you may find it used to define the sunlight requirements of a few plants. Dappled sunlight is similar to partial shade. It is the sun that makes its way through the branches of a deciduous tree. Woodland plants, like trillium and Solomon's Sealas well as understory trees and shrubs, prefer this type of sunlight over even the limited direct exposure they would get from partial shade. Remember that in early spring, the areas under a tree receive much more sunlight than they do in summer after the tree canopies have leafed out.

This is one reason why spring sun-loving bulbs can be successfully planted beneath trees. It is wise to check the moisture requirements of any plants you are planting under a tree since tree roots tend to soak up a lot of groundwater and smaller plants are likely to need supplemental water to become established. Plants that list their sunlight requirements as full shade are those that can survive on less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight during the rest of the day.

Hostaastilbeand heuchera coral bells are all considered shade plants. However, be aware that many such plants still have a preferred sunlight requirement under which they do best. While the plant tags or seed labels may make a plant seem suitable for any location, a bit more research into the species may tell you that the plant really does best under a specific sunlight exposure but "tolerates" other conditions.

It is always best to do some online research to learn the full story of any plant you are considering. In the end, the only real gauge is how well your plant is growing.

If the leaves look burned or if the flowers are lanky and leaning in search of sunlight, the plant is probably not in an ideal spot. And don't be afraid to move plants around in your garden if you think they are not placed correctly. Most species can be successfully transplanted if you work carefully. If a plant is listed as the partial sun, greater emphasis is put on its receiving at least the minimal sun requirements. These plants need several hours of sun to set flowers and fruits but are not as fussy as the sun worshippers that need a full day of sun.Tools that give sun position, climatic data for solar design, and radiation on a solar collector.

Solar Position, Radiation and Climatic Data. Heating and Cooling Degree Days Data. Window Shading and Overhang Tools. New -- SketchUp for sun modeling If you are going to do a solar project, you need to do a Solar Site Survey to make sure that your site gets enough sun during the right times of year to make the project work.

This free and simple survey only takes an hour and is fun and educational. Its a must do for any type of solar project! Skyview app to do solar shading surveys The free Skyview app is normally used to allow iPhones etc. To use it, you make sure it is set to your location, then set the date and time of interest, then select the sun object. Standing at your your proposed collector location, pan across the horizon -- the path of the sun will be projected on the screen so you can see when it is lower in the sky than nearby trees, buildings etc.

The logical first date to start with would be Dec 21 the winter Solstice when the sun is lowest. I tried this on my iPad, and it worked pretty well, but I would still do the site survey listed just above rather than relying fully on Skyview -- it can be a real disaster to get the shading wrong.

Thanks to David for finding this and sending it in. This is reported to be a good set of tools to analyze your solar shading situation for PV or solar thermal installations. Comments from Lawrence They also offer several other PV and electrical oriented tools for Android.

This is a nice application from Andrew for the iPhone that allows you to do a solar site survey using the iPhone's built in sensors for measuring elevations and azimuth angles for the survey of the horizon. While I've not had a chance to actually try it, it looks to me as though it would do a good job.

The Solar Pathfinder has been around for many years, and is used by many solar professionals to do solar site surveys.

Basically its a glass dome, and the reflection of the objects on the horizon is used to assess the effect of objects on the horizon that would block the sun. Now offered with software assistant. Probably a bit of overkill for the DIYer building one or two projects. Bright Harvest Solar Survey. Bright Harvest offers a new kind of solar survey. Based on aerial photos, they make a digital model of your house and surrounding obstacles, and then try various arrangements of collectors and estimate the shading for each.

They did a report for my house, and here are my thoughts on it In a nutshell, the service is not inexpensive, but the report is impressive. Simply try different tilt and azimuth angles until you maximize solar irradiance on your panels over the desired time frame. See site survey for how it works.

It provides a variety of ways to visualize weather for a specific location.Back when this calculator was first created, we decided to use a non-standard definition of longitude and time zone, to make coordinate entry less awkward. So on this page, both longitude and time zone are defined as positive to the west, instead of the international standard of positive to the east of the Prime Meridian.

We maintain this page as a courtesy to those people who, for whatever reason, prefer the old calculator. Month: Day: Year e. The following sign conventions are used:. If you select a city from the pulldown menu, the latitude, longitude and time zone fields will be filled in automatically. Otherwise, the time zone associated with the selected city's Local Standard Time will be automatically entered.

Selecting "Yes" in the Daylight Saving field will cause the resulting sunrise, sunset and solar noon times to be adjusted forward one hour.

If you are uncertain of the time zone for a location, refer to our Time Zone Table. The program retrieves the current date from your computer, and fills the month, day and year fields.

To perform calculations for a different date, simply select a month in the pull down menu, and enter the day and four digit year in the appropriate input boxes. Once the calculation results are displayed, you may use your web browser's "Print" function to obtain a hardcopy of the results. For locations above the Arctic Circle and below the Antarctic Circle, when a sunrise or sunset does not occur on the given day the program locates the local time and date of the most recent sunrise or sunset, and the next sunset or sunrise.

See Solar Calculation Details for further explanation. Earth System Research Lab.

Daylight Saving Time :. Equation of Time minutes :. Solar Declination degrees :.If you're considering purchasing solar panels for your home, you are probably wondering whether or not you receive enough sunlight where you live. You may have also heard that it's not just the total amount of sunlight, but the 'peak sun hours' you get that is a key criterion.

In this blog, we explain what this term means, and how the number of sun hours varies from place to place. But exactly how many hours a day does that happen? And how is the amount of direct sunlight affected by location and time of year?

A peak sun hour doesn't include just any hour when the sun is out in the sky. Instead, it refers to an hour in which your solar panels produce a certain amount of energy. Each peak sun hour is defined as one hour when the intensity of sunlight solar irradiance reaches an average of 1, watts of energy per square meter roughly Summer months and locations farther south will generally see more peak sun hours than wintry times and areas farther north.

That's because regions closer to the equator are also closer to the sun. On the other hand, in latitudes farther north, when the sun is closer to the horizon, the sunlight is filtered through more layers of the atmosphere. Peak sun hours also vary depending on where your solar panels are placed. In other words, the peak sun hours' value for one part of the house might be different than its value for another part of the house.

These factors can affect the number of peak sun hours:. A solar irradiance bell curve. Image source: allbaysolar. Instead, you need to add the total amount of solar irradiance received by the location. It may sound complicated, but the concept is actually relatively simple to apply. Solar irradiance throughout the entire day adds up and gives us the daily Peak Sun Hours value.

## How many peak sun hours do solar panels need?

Image source: Solar Energy International; for more in-depth information, check out their professional solar training courses. As the image shows, adding up the total solar irradiance for a given location gives you the total peak sun hours value. You can calculate the irradiance for your location during different times of the year here: pveducation.

You can also check the average solar radiation for your location on this NREL page. Regular sunlight hours refer to any time the sun is shining during the day - the hours between sunrise and sunset.

That is why the concept of 'peak sun hours' has been developed. It precisely measures the amount of irradiance that will hit the solar panels, thereby allowing us to calculate the expected electricity generation. The more peak sun hours a solar panel gets, the more electricity it produces.

In an ideal scenario for solar, panels would receive direct sunlight 24 hours a day, every day. Luke Skywalker rues the fact that even Tatooine — with its two suns — experiences sunsets, and thus non-peak sun hours. Inthe average electricity consumption of a house in the US was kWh per month, which is about 28kWh per day. All solar panels these days come with a Standard Test Conditions STC rating, which is the amount of energy those panels can actually produce during peak sun hours.

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With this standard detailed specifications sheet, you also get its STC rating. This is a sample specifications sheet for an LG solar panel. Image source: solar-estimate.

Assuming the panel above works at full STC efficiency, it can produce watts in one hour.SunCalc shows the movement of the sun and sunlight-phase for a certain day at a certain place.

You can change the suns positions for sunriseselected time and sunset see.

The thin yellow-colored curve shows the trajectory of the sun, the yellow deposit shows the variation of the path of the sun throughout the year. The closer a point in the center, the higher the sun above the horizon. The colors in the above time-slider shows the sunlight during the day. The sun on the time slider can be moved by mouse or with the arrow keys of the keyboard. Computation path of the sun for:. Solar data for the selected location.

Daylight duration Distance [km] Shadow length [m] Geodata for the selected location. More solar data. Mar Equinox Jun Solstice Sep Equinox Dec Solstice You can requests, suggestions and criticisms rid of Your e-mail address: Your first and last name: Your Request:. The sun on the time slider can be moved by mouse or with the arrow keys of the keyboard API to link to this page! API for developers. The same for the Moon.

To retrieve lunar data please go to the following Website: mooncalc. This website in German language sonnenverlauf.Understanding how to get the most from that equipment can make a huge difference in the efficiency of the system while getting greater returns from your investment.

Learning how to calculate your peak sun hours with home solar helps to ensure that your panels are positioned properly.

Our sun generates over 3. That staggering number is hard to comprehend add 24 zeros to the number aboveand while most of that energy is not directed towards our planet, quadrillion watts does make it to us. Keep in mind, that potential is spread across the entire surface of the earth and that a specific location will move in and out of that light as the planet rotates, but it should be apparent that sunlight hours offer great energy potential!

When attempting to understand how much energy does the sun produce for your property, it is best to scale these numbers into something that can be used. On a cloudless day, each square meter of your property receives about 1 kilowatt of energy. That calculates to roughly kilowatts throughout the day with an array of panels the size of a small swimming pool. On average, most American homes use 30 kilowatts an hour.

It is easy to see why proper angle and facing is capable of generating excellent results. The numbers stated previously are in ideal conditions of course.

Realistic numbers are based on a multitude of factors, including how many hours of daylight there are. How many hours of daylight in winter your property receives will be different than the sun time energy it gets during the summer months. By understanding your position in relation to the sun, as well as how the available sunlight changes throughout the year, you can form a realistic expectation of how much energy your system is likely to take it.

During winter months, when the sun is lower in the sky, less energy will be available than when its path is higher during hot summer days. There are many online resources available that include a daylight hours chart for your area. Even the local weather report, that includes sunrise and sunset times, can suffice as a daylight hours chart if enough data points are collected. While sources that list this information by state help, using a source that lists sun hours per day by zip code is more effective solar panel angle by zip code can also be found on these sites.

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The more finite a resource can list how many hours of daylight you receive, the more accurate your calculations can be. Another consideration when you calculate hours of potential energy is understanding peak sunlight hours. While the sun might be shining for nine hours a day, there are certain hours within that time period that produce the best potential energy. These are referred to as peak hours and are usually defined as an hour that offers 1, watts of potential power in a square meter.

Peak hours occur when the sun is highest in the sky. How many hours can you get when is the sun highest in the sky? Sunlight solar energy peaks average between three and five peak hours daily in the US. This will vary depending upon your location as well as with weather conditions. States like Arizona will receive more peak hours on average than a state like Maine, for example.

Most of the resources you can use that list sun hours per day by zip code offer data for peak hours as well, or may even incorporate them into their calculations. There are solar irradiance calculator instruments and software suites are available that can determine the power each unit area receives. Not only can this be valuable for your general location, but they can also be used to further determine which areas within your property are best for maximum collection. Again, many online resources are available to help determine the solar panel angle by zip code or by neighborhood.

Optimum angles allow each cell within your system to receive the most light which allows them to match up well with their efficiency rating. Improper angles will lower their efficiency as potential sunlight will not meet the surface angle properly. It is often assumed that the best facing for a solar panel is south for US residents when compared to other directions.

That might not be the best way to approach placing your panels. While they might receive the most sunlight throughout the day when facing south, is the facing the best for collecting sunlight during peak hours?

## thoughts on “Sun hour charts”

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