The Insulation Level and Solar Electric Panels

by Green Jobs Ready on December 30, 2009


Solar electric panels are highly efficient devices if you want to lower your electricity bill. In order to benefit from the performances provided bysolar electric panels, certain research is required. Solar electric panels won’t work unless you live in a sunny area. So, how can you estimate if your house receives enough solar radiation to power a solar electric panel? Find out the solar insolation level in your area.

What is solar insolation?

Solar insolation = the level of solar radiation incident on the surface of the earth. To express this in the non-technical language, it’s about how much sunlight you get in your living area.

Knowing the level of solar insolation will help you determine the size of the solar electric panels you should buy. In addition, once you establish the required size of the collector, you can calculate the energy output. This is an essential coordinate, because you will be able to understand how much energy the solar electric panels provide and how much you can use.

  • If the insolation level is low, you will need large solar electric panels.
  • Insolation levels are generally expressed in kWh/m²/day (this represents the amount of solar radiation that reaches a square meter of the earth’s surface in one day). The values will vary according to the length of the day.
  • If you want to know the raw energy conversion of 1kWh, here is a starting point: 1kWh=3412 Btu=3.6 MJ= 859.8 kcal .
  • Some insolation level examples are: an average of 5 kWh/m²/day is high, while an average of 2 kWh/m²/day is low.

Calculating the insolation level of a particular area is easy, especially if you have an Internet connection. For example, if you access NASA Surface meteorology and Solar Energy Data Set, you can find out if you live in an area where solar electric panels will work full time. Take note that in order to find out the insolation level, you need the exact location of your home (latitude and longitude – use your GPS).

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