Key takeaways

t

he sun is shining all over the world, however, with a different intensity. A solar mapping tool might be indispensable for those who need to know how much sunlight their place receives. Let’s see what benefits it has to offer for those considering going solar.

What is a solar insolation map?

A sun map gives you information about solar resources in your area. A solar power map of a city, a state, or a country shows how much sunlight this place gets on average. For instance, a sun map created by the NREL1 illustrates the average daily amount of solar power across the U.S. measured in kilowatt hours per square meter. Another example of a sunlight map is Solar Mapper by SEIA.

The sun's power output, known as solar irradiance, is about 1,366 watts per square meter at the outer atmosphere.

When do you need a sun map?

Solar mapping tools can be handy in case you plan to purchase a solar power system. If you are aware of your area’s solar potential, you will be able to calculate the size of your photovoltaic system on your own using the simple formula: Average Daily Power Consumption ÷ Average Daily Peak Sun Hours ÷ Solar Panel’s Efficiency = Number of Panels your house requires to meet its power needs.

What is a peak sun hour?

You might receive about 8 hours of sunlight at your location each day. However, this doesn't mean that your location experiences 8 peak sun hours. The solar term "peak sun hour" is used to describe the intensity of sunshine rather than its duration. In scientific terms, one peak sun hour is equivalent to one hour of solar irradiance averaging 1,000 watts per square meter.

Why do peak sun hours vary by area?

Sunlight is more intense in regions closer to the equator, which is why U.S. southern states generally experience more peak sun than northern territories. However, proximity to the equator is not the only factor that affects the strength of solar radiation. In southwestern states, there are more cloud-free days, improving the conditions for solar power generation.

Use your own personal savings calculation to shop and compare top providers

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What are the average peak sun hours in my state?

The average peak sun hours by State
The average peak sun hours by State

In the USA, most states experience between 3 and 5 peak hours of sunlight per day. The table below shows the typical solar radiance of 10 randomly selected US states.

State

Solar insolation (PHS)

Alaska

2-3 peak sun hours

Arizona

7-8 peak sun hours

California

5-7,5 peak sun hours

Illinois

3-4 peak sun hours

Mississippi

4-4,5 peak sun hours

Nevada

6-7.5 peak sun hours

New York

3-3.5 peak sun hours

South Carolina

4-4.5 peak sun hours

Utah

6-7 peak sun hours

Wyoming

5.5-6 peak sun hours

Still, the average is only an average. Using one of the online solar mapping tools, you can easily find more precise info on solar insulation and peak sun hours based on your address (ZIP code).

How many PSH should you have to go solar?

If your home in the United States receives at least 4 peak sun hours per day, installing solar panels is definitely a worthwhile investment. However, even if the sun map shows that you receive less than 4 hours of direct sunlight, you can still reap the benefits of solar power. There are a lot of other factors that influence the efficiency of solar equipment, including its type and size, orientation and angle, etc. So before making the decision to invest in PV panels, it is important to consult with a solar installer who can help assess the feasibility and cost savings in your specific situation.

https://www.nrel.gov/gis/assets

https://solarmapper.anl.gov

https://www.solarreviews.com/blog

Key takeaways

Maximize Solar Potential: A Guide to Peak Sun Hours & Sun Maps

Solar Insolation Maps Explained:

  • Solar mapping tools like NREL and SEIA's Solar Mapper showcase average daily solar power across the U.S.
  • Solar irradiance, the sun's power output, is 1,366 watts per square meter at the outer atmosphere.

Determining Solar System Size:

  • Use sun maps when considering a solar power system purchase.
  • Calculate your PV system size with Average Daily Power Consumption ÷ Average Daily Peak Sun Hours ÷ Solar Panel’s Efficiency = Required Panels.

Understanding Peak Sun Hours:

  • Peak Sun Hours measure sunlight intensity, not duration, with one hour of solar irradiance averaging 1,000 watts per square meter.
  • Subsidies for solar panels make solar energy affordable, reducing upfront costs for homeowners and businesses.

Regional Variations in Peak Sun Hours:

  • Sunlight intensity is higher closer to the equator, impacting peak sun hours.
  • Southwestern states benefit from more cloud-free days, enhancing solar power conditions.

Average Peak Sun Hours by State:

  • Most U.S. states experience 3 to 5 peak sun hours per day.
  • States like Arizona (7-8 PSH) and California (5-7.5 PSH) lead in solar radiance.

Determining Solar Feasibility:

  • If your home receives at least 4 peak sun hours daily, investing in solar panels is highly beneficial.
  • Consult a solar installer for a personalized assessment considering factors like equipment type, size, and orientation.

Unlock the full potential of solar energy by leveraging peak sun hours and precise solar mapping tools tailored to your location.

Posted 
May 29, 2023
 in 
Solar News
 category

More from 

Solar News

 category

View All

Get Accurate & Competitive Quotes in Minutes

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.