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Best Regions for Solar Power

Before you run out and buy or make a stack of solar panels for your home, you need to know some things about cloud cover (especially in the winter) and the amount of daylight hours your area of the country actually receives. 

Would you be better off putting most of your investing in wind power, or solar power? The amount of sunshine your area of the country receives has a tremendous impact on how many solar panels you will have to buy or make.

The below chart represents the amount of sunshine (and thus the amount of available solar power) in your area of the continental United States:

As you can see, the northern sections of the country get a lot more cloud cover in the wintertime than the south. Finding sufficient solar power around the great lakes or pacific northwest is particularly difficult during the winter. If you live in a northern area with a lot of wind, a wind turbine system may be your best option. See our article on the best locations for wind power for more information on this. 

These maps are based on a flat panel solar panel tilted toward the south. The tilt angle is based on a fixed tilt equal to the latitude of the site above the equator. 

The legend to the right of this paragraph gives you the amount of KWH you can expect per day for each square meter of solar panel surface area. 

Below is a summertime solar radiation map:

For the summer, most of the United States, with the exception of the extreme pacific northwest, is ideal for placing solar panels. The western and southwestern US is best, with the desert regions obviously receiving the most sun. But most all of the US can benefit from solar power throughout the summer. Sunshine is plentiful and there is no reason not to consider an investment in solar energy. 

But how many solar panels will you need? There are several factors to consider:

  • The amount of electricity your home requires. You need to understand the wattage of your appliances.

  • The amount of sunshine in your area. 

  • The amount of wind in your area. If you are using wind power, how much wind does your area of the country typically receive?

  • The amount of energy storage you have available (batteries). If you have too few batteries, extra solar panels may only go to waste.

  • Your budget constraints. This is the big one. Our review of Do It Yourself guides should help. It is remarkably easy and doesn't require a lot of technical knowledge to make your own panels and wind turbines.

To learn how much electricity your specific home requires, read our articles on power hungry appliances and powering just one appliance.

To determine the amount of wind in your area, see our article on the best locations for wind power

For determining the amount of energy storage you will need, and best kinds of batteries to purchase, see our battery buying guide.

Coming soon: Sign up for our free six part mini-course on how to properly plan for adding solar and wind energy to your home.

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On the site you will find valuable articles covering how wind energy is harnessed through wind turbines, how solar energy is harnessed through photovoltaic solar panels, best locations for Wind Power and much more. You will also find helpful reviews of Do it Yourself guides that we have purchased and researched. 

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