Alabama's Solar Potential
The amount of sun shining at the earth's surface is called solar insolation. Insolation values are expressed in kWh/m2 per day, or the amount of solar energy measured in kilowatt hours striking a square meter of the earth's surface.
Several factors such as weather patterns, humidity and haze can affect local insolation levels. However, as can be seen in the map, below, insolation values in Alabama are significant enough to support solar energy systems in our state, with the southeastern part of the Alabama having equivalent solar insolation values to most of the state of Florida.
|Average U.S Insolation Values*|
|City||Insolation Value (kWh/m2 per day)|
|San Antonio, TX||5.41|
|Las Vegas, NV||6.60|
|* Source: U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory|
Is Solar Energy Right for You?
When considering solar energy, there are many issues to think about before getting started. Here are a few things to consider:
- Make sure you have a location with maximum sunlight and no shading between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Ideal orientation is due south and tilted at an angle approximating the latitude, which is 34 degrees in Birmingham, Alabama.
- Check your local zoning ordinances for any restrictions.
- Consult your homeowner association for any restrictions. Many states do not allow solar panels to be restricted through homeowner covenants.