Jup  MadALwx's Solar Data and Research
Detailed chart
Data last updated 09/24/11 00:35.
Solar Energy Avg (W/m2)
2014---------0* 659 w/m² less than the April average.------------------------0* 842 w/m² less than the yearly average.
2013------------------------------------0* 842 w/m² less than the yearly average.
2012------------------------------------0* 842 w/m² less than the yearly average.
2011513 6 w/m² less than the January average.727 63 w/m² more than the February average.762 5 w/m² more than the March average.973* 314 w/m² more than the April average.1185 70 w/m² more than the May average.1111 12 w/m² more than the June average.1184 56 w/m² more than the July average.1110 52 w/m² more than the August average.------------947* 105 w/m² more than the yearly average.
2010525 6 w/m² more than the January average.602 63 w/m² less than the February average.752 5 w/m² less than the March average.1005 346 w/m² more than the April average.1045 70 w/m² less than the May average.1087 12 w/m² less than the June average.1073 56 w/m² less than the July average.984 74 w/m² less than the August average.879 6 w/m² more than the September average.780 41 w/m² more than the October average.596 20 w/m² more than the November average.508 30 w/m² more than the December average.821 21 w/m² less than the yearly average.
2009---------------------1081 23 w/m² more than the August average.868 6 w/m² less than the September average.698 41 w/m² less than the October average.556 20 w/m² less than the November average.448 30 w/m² less than the December average.730* 112 w/m² less than the yearly average.
Avg519 664 757 659 1115 1099 1128 1058 874 739 576 478 842
< 100 100 - 200 200 - 300 300 - 400 400 - 500 500 - 600 600 - 700 700 - 800 800 - 900 900 - 1000 1000 - 1100 1100 - 12001200>
* denotes incomplete data for the month/year. Sensor is fixed and level.

Chart courtesy of Murry Conarroe of Wildwood Weather.

My Solar Energy Research

I am considering using Solar Power due to possible govt. raising of electric rates under Obama; "Under my plan...electric rates would necessarily skyrocket." Solar Power accounts for only .1% of the renewable energy used in the US. Hydropower accounts for 3% of the renewable energy used (US EIA 2009).

Some websites require the ft2 of your home, refer you to a "Sun hour" map, or ask for 3, 6, or 12 month electric usage. I don't see how home size can be relevant; it's how much energy you use. As for determining avg electric usage, it seems more wise to use 12 months, vice 3, or 6.

Energy Usage Reduction

Before considering solar energy, determine how you can reduce kWh usage. Start by reducing one of the biggest loads; your hot water heater. For the climate in our area, the best option seems to be a heat pump. It uses surrounding heat during summer to heat the water.

The Energy Detective
The Power Save seems useful in older homes that can't compensate for initial loads made by older motor-driven appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, etc.

Solar System Requirements

For calculating the type of system - PVWATTS

The data below is from PVWATTS. Their saying the max solar radiation for Dec is 3.27kW/m2/day. My solar sensor (see chart above) shows avg 478W/m2/hr x about 7hrs useable daylight=3.34kW/m2/day.)
Using a 4.0kW solar system, in Dec, we could produce 308kWh. We typically use 1400kWh in Dec. To make better use of solar, we have to curb kWh. The amount saved would be $24.33. This does not include the $.12/kWh TVA pays us for selling what we generate, on top of the current electric rate. (NOTE: TVA Green Switch requires a min 500W/hr system to qualify for their incentives and program, so we would have to atleast look at a 5.0kW system.)

Using a 4.0 kW system, Cost of Electricity: 7.9 cents/kWh

Solar Radiation
AC Energy
Energy Value
My Solar Radiation
1(usable light > 85%)
My Mnth Capability / Avg kWh Use
1   3.51     336   25.54   510*7hrs1=3.57kW/m2/day *31days=1107 / 1300
2   4.40     375   28.50  
3   4.86     443   33.67  
4   5.57     479   36.40  
5   5.51     476   36.18  
6   5.74     468   35.57  
7   5.83     483   36.71  
8   5.84     486   36.94  
9   5.34     441   33.52  
10   5.46     484   36.78  
11   3.98     349   26.52  
12   3.27     308   23.41   478*7hrs1=3.34kW/m2/day *31days=1035 / 1400
Solar Power Assessment

As you can see, you would have to purchase, atleast, a 5kW Solar System to maintain the minimum required by TVA to qualify for incentives. Right now, that cost will never be returned. Hydro-electric is financially smarter to use in North AL because hydro-electric rates are very low. However, if electric rates skyrocket the way Obama wants, it might be better to go solar.


One-stop pricing - Eco Business Links
State Incentives - TVA Green Power Switch
Gov't Incentives - Gov't Incentives

How Solar Energy observations are obtained.

This station's data/observations are collected by a Davis VP2 Professional Wireless Weather Station. Observations are collected every 1sec and data reduction is performed by Weather Display software. The station is comprised of an anemometer, barometer, temperature and humidity sensors, a .01" rain gauge, solar radiation sensor, soil moisture sensors, and 4 thermo-hydro sensors situated in optimal positions for highest accuracy possible. This trend is based on observations recorded at .

Accurate analysis can only be obtained by correctly sited sensors. This weather station is sited IAW the procedures outlined in the CWOP handbook. Data collected by this weather station is utilized by NOAA, CWOP, and other weather organizations.

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