When it comes to harnessing solar energy, understanding peak sun hours is essential. These hours are the key to determining how much power your solar panels will produce in a day. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misconceptions as to what they actually are. So let’s set the record straight and shed light on what they truly are.What Are (not) Peak Sun Hours?Let’s start with the basics: Peak sun hours are not the total hours of daylight in a day, rather, they represent the hours when the sun’s intensity is highest. In the context of solar panels, peak sun hours represent the number of hours that your solar panel will produce maximum energy. For example, if you have a 400W Solar Panel (hint hint – ideally one of our Ultra High Efficient Monocrystalline MCS approved panels), then one peak sun hour will generate you 400 Watts of power. Another way of looking at it is: Let’s say tomorrow there are 5 hours of sunlight. In the morning, when the sun rises, the sun’s intensity is lowest. All that means is the suns angle is lower in the sky resulting in less photons reaching us. This results in your panels producing less power. However, as the sun rises, the angle gets ‘wider’, more photons are able to hit your panel & your panels are able to generate more and more power until they reach maximum power production. Finally, as the sun begins to set, the intensity begins dropping again until the sun goes down, and you produce no power. If you look at the image below, imagine that the area inside the suns rays is the total amount of energy that is able to reach the panel, you will notice that when the sun is lower in the sky, the area is much less than when it is higher in the sky. The peak sun hours are simply an average of this process. How many Peak Sun Hours does the UK get?On average, the UK receives around 2.5 hours of peak sunlight throughout the year. However, it’s crucial to note that this figure varies significantly depending on the season and your geographic location. Importantly, this number doesn’t represent the total hours of sunlight in a day. On average, the UK basks in about 4 to 5 hours of sunlight per day, while the number of peak sun hours stands at a more modest 2.5 hours.Locational VariationAs you can see on the map, peak sun hours in the UK vary depending on where you live, although not as much as you might expect. In the southernmost eastern part of the UK in Devon, you can expect around 3 hours of sun per day, giving you around 1100 hours of sun per year. Meanwhile, in the northernmost part of Scotland in John o’ Groats, you can still expect a solid 2.3 hours of sun per day or 900 hours of sun per year. Seasonal VariationWhile the locational variation is not huge, there is a significant seasonal variation. To provide a better understanding, here are the monthly averages for peak sun hours. As you will see, the number of hours of sun in the winter months is far less than during the summer months, so make sure to plan your system accordingly:January: 1 hourFebruary: 1 to 2 hoursMarch: 2 to 3 hoursApril: 3 to 4 hoursMay: 4 to 5 hoursJune: Up to 6 hoursJuly: Up to 6 hoursAugust: Up to 6 hoursSeptember: 4 to 5 hoursOctober: 3 to 4 hoursNovember: 2 to 3 hoursDecember: 1 to 2 hours Making the Most of Peak Sun HoursTo make the most of the varying peak sun hours in the UK, consider adjusting your solar panel setup seasonally. Proper panel orientation and tilt can help optimize sunlight absorption throughout the year.ConclusionSo there you have it, a clearer picture of peak sun hours and how they affect your solar panel’s performance. Armed with this knowledge, I hope you find yourself better equipped to jump into the wonderful world of solar.