You have made up your mind on supplying your home with a sustainable energy source and wondering if a solar panel system is the best solution for you? There are several factors you need to consider before making the move.
How much sun do solar panels need to operate effectively?
No, direct sunlight is not vital to the proper functioning of a solar system. Panels don’t need to be installed in direct sunlight to work, though direct sunlight provides optimum conditions for solar energy systems. In fact, solar panels produce electricity from the photons present in natural daylight. Heat also does not affect the amount of electricity produced by a solar panel system. But clouds do. On a cloudy day, solar panels absorb energy at a reduced rate – 25-40% compared to sunny days. However, a solar system might not be a feasible solution if installed in a shady location.
What are peak sun-hours?
A peak-sun hour describes the intensity of sunlight in a specific area. It is defined as an hour of sunlight that offers 1,000 watts of photovoltaic power per square meter. Peak sun-hours occur when the sun is highest in the sky.
How do I calculate the peak-sun hours in my area?
To calculate your peak-sun hours, use an isolation map to see how much solar energy your location receives throughout the year. You can also take a look at different charts that compile data on solar radiation. For more precise readings, you can purchase an isolation meter or build your own. These numbers will help you decide whether or not solar panels are a worthwhile investment for your home. If any doubts, consult a solar expert.
One important question that many individuals have when deciding whether or not installing a solar energy system is the right move for them is “do I live in an area that receives enough sun to make solar panels worth it?”