DOES SOLAR WORK WHERE I LIVE?
People often think that solar doesn¡¯t work in their location because they live in a Northern location, or get a lot of cloudy weather, but that¡¯s not true! Sure, not all locations receive as much sun as our hometown in Florida, but that¡¯s okay. Solar can work in pretty much any area, as long as there¡¯s direct view of the sun and the solar panels are properly sized.
The considerations for determining the right sized solar panel comes down to the power consumption (Wattage) of the electronic (light fixture for example), how long it needs to be on for each day/night, and also the sun levels in your area. There are data stations around the entire world that store sun levels throughout the year. We can access the data and calculate the solar panel requirements for your system in your location. Since the sun levels in most locations are worst in the winter months, we base the system requirements around the winter conditions. If we¡¯re powering a light fixture dusk to dawn, we¡¯ll base the night length around the longest night of the year which is December 21st AKA the winter solstice.
As you can imagine, some locations can have better sun levels than others. To accommodate for the lower sun levels in locations such as the northern states of the USA and Canada we provide larger solar panels. Not only is the sun intensity lower in the winter months in those locations, but the days are also shorter, so there¡¯s less opportunity for the solar panels to absorb sunlight. For example, the necessary sized solar panel to accommodate a 10 Watt light for 14 hours in Fort Myers, Florida would be approx. 45 Watts. The appropriate panel for the same light and same illumination time in Chicago, IL would be a 75 Watt solar panel.
In addition to requiring larger solar panels, how the panel is installed is also important. The further north the solar panel is, the steeper the solar panel should be installed. To maximize the performance from the solar panel during the winter months (the worst time for solar) the solar panel should be installed 15¡ã plus the installation location latitude. If you are installing a solar panel for an off-grid solar system in Chicago, IL for example, the ideal angle for the solar panel is approx. 56¡ã (Chicago, IL latitude is 41¡ã + 15¡ã = 56¡ã).
So at the end of it all, yes solar will work where you live. As long as your solar system is sized appropriately, and your solar panel is installed correctly you can have a reliable solar lighting system.
To learn more about how and where you should install your solar panel, please click here