Outdoor Lighting Courtesy of the Sun
How much productive sunlight is in your area of the United States? That's what this next piece of information is all about. "Insolation" or sometimes also referred to as solar irradiation is the amount of sunlight that hits a given measured area of Mother Earth. Knowing this you can better gauge how well your solar application will work or not work. How "robust" is the sunlight is another way of putting it.
The below maps are from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory website (see above for the direct link). NREL is the most reliable website of this type of solar insolation data. Solar professionals rely upon the many years of collected weather data that is shared on this government run database. These maps show you the general average insolation (sun hours per day) that you can expect in your area. I also included January and June months so you can see the disparity of the amount of solar hours expected, on average, during those months. June is typically the best solar month, and January the worst. If you buy a solar light or solar panel / charging system, you want to make sure it will be sized to handle your very worst solar insolation months. Don't expect the impossible. Plan for it smartly. Know your solar months well and you can get a more realistic idea of what your lights will or will not be able to do.
The better your area is rated for daily sunlight (not heat, but light), say for example Southern California, the easier it is for your solar panel to be able to fully charge your batteries daily. This will elongate or prolong the life of your batteries. If you have a poor solar insolation area, say for example, Massachusetts you may not be able to charge your batteries for days depending on the light. The result could be that your light may not light up each and every night. The larger the panel and battery capacity the more likely your lighting fixture has been designed to provide lighting even in the worst months (Dec, Jan, Feb).
SOLAR INCENTIVES - NATIONWIDE - www.dsireusa.org
Want to know if you can qualify for up to a 30% tax credit, or obtain state or more local grants and tax incentives for using solar? Then you can easily get started by going to the very best site on the internet.
"DSIRE is the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is currently operated by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, with support from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. DSIRE is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy."
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