SolarDesignTools provides free interactive online design tools for Electric Solar Power energy systems. This includes determining the required number of solar panels, how many batteries will be needed, calculating wire sizes, a solar radiation chart, example system pictorials, and more.
Try this example of an interactive electric Solar Power Simulator to see how Solar Energy systems work.

Home / Overview Starting Guide System Sizing Tool Battery Designer Wire Size Calculator Tips & Strategies Terms & Definitions
Solar Panels Charge Controllers Storage Batteries Inverters/Generators Meters & Monitoring Solar Radiation Wiring Diagrams

Solar Radiation Chart

Solar Radiation (sunshine)
Simply stated, Solar Radiation is the actual sunshine falling on the Solar Panels. The map below shows the daily average sunshine in hours for each square meter of Solar Panel area at an angle of 90 degrees to the sun and facing south. If you had ten 120 watt Solar Panels that were each 1.5 square meters and you lived in Wichita, Kansas you could figure 5 hours times 1200 watts or 6 kilowatts per day under ideal conditions (5 X 1200 = 6000). This will vary of course depending on clouds, haze, the tilt of the Solar Panel array, and other factors. But it will give you a rough estimate of what you could expect at different locations in the country. Also, this is an average and there are more hours of good sunshine in summer and less in winter, naturally.
The location of the Solar Panels must not allow shadows from buildings, trees, or other obstructions to fall on the panels. This is important because all of the individual solar cells that make up the solar panels required voltage are wired in series. So if even a few cells stop generating voltage, the overall output falls dramatically. You can increase the efficiency of your solar panels by installing them on a tracking type of solar array mounting unit. This way the array of solar panels can follow the sun's path across the sky from sun-up to sun-down and the tilt can also be adjusted to match the lower sun angle in the winter sky. The down side to tracking array mounts is that they are very expensive. An economical alternative for a small system is to just buy a few more panels to make up for the fact that they are stationary.

Home / Overview Starting Guide System Sizing Tool Battery Designer Wire Size Calculator Tips & Strategies Terms & Definitions
Solar Panels Charge Controllers Storage Batteries Inverters/Generators Meters & Monitoring Solar Radiation Wiring Diagrams

DISCLAIMER : The information and suggestions on this website are generally proven and accepted standards and techniques. They are, however, not meant to supersede local zoning laws or the recommendations of a licensed electrician. Always read the instructions provided with your equipment and observe all safety precautions.