Why 8760 and What Does It Mean?

At first glance, 8760 appears to be a random selection of numbers and we get plenty of people attempting to guess what they mean!

8760 is neither a street number nor part of a phone number or people’s ages. It’s actually something very closely related to solar energy.

Read on to reveal its mystery!

In a Nutshell

  • 8760 refers to the number of hours in a meteorological year
  • A typical meteorological year consists of hourly solar and other meteorological data for a specific location
  • The data is crucial for understanding how much sunlight a solar panel will receive
  • An 8760 report analyzes and collates the data to optimize and improve a solar array

The Typical Meteorological Year 

Numbers on a calendar

8760 refers to the number of hours there are in a year. There are 24 hours per day x 365 days in a year = 8760.

This is also what’s known as a “typical meteorological year” (TMY) and this is used to collate location-specified data for the hourly values of solar radiation and other meteorological elements, such as temperature, wind strength, and speed, humidity, and precipitation over a one-year period.

The TMY is what meteorologists use to determine annual averages and long-term averages for a location’s weather. They take the hourly data over a long timeframe – usually ten years or more – and use it to create a “typical” weather scenario for each hour of the year.

A TMY provides a crucial data set that is useful for a great many applications besides predicting what the weather will be like at a given time of the year.

For example, TMY is used in building simulations to understand what cooling and heating measures need to be incorporated into the building’s design.

TMY data has been around for a long time and has grown to incorporate many different locations over the years:

  • Between 1948 and 1980, the first TMY data set was established and taken from 229 US locations.
  • The second data set was taken between 1961 and 1990 and expanded to 239 locations in the US.
  • The third data set covered 1976 – 2005 and included 1,020 US locations.
  • To account for climate change, a new TMY collection was created between 2006 and 2021, which was based on data taken from 16,000 locations worldwide.

What Does a Typical Meteorological Year Have to Do With Solar Energy?

Sunbeams through a cloud

TMY data is very important when designing a solar system. The amount of sun exposure is critical to a solar panel’s efficiency, so the TMY data is used to determine whether or not a specific location has adequate sun exposure and to optimize the panel’s positioning and tilt for maximum efficiency.

The science can get quite technical, but essentially, two key areas of a TMY data set are looked at:

  • Beam radiation
  • Diffuse radiation

These sunlight types vary yearly, and the TMY provides an hourly breakdown of how much of each type a particular region receives.

Beam Radiaton

Beam radiation is calculated using direct measurements of diffuse and global horizontal irradiances and refers to the direct light a solar panel receives. 

Where fixed rail panels are concerned, they will only receive a portion of the day’s direct sunlight. In contrast, solar arrays with tracking devices will receive more because they can adjust throughout the day to keep facing the light.

Diffuse Radiation

Diffuse radiation refers to the isotropic radiation or indirect sunlight that the solar panels receive from the surrounding sky dome. 

When positioned at a tilted angle, the panels cannot access the entire sky dome and will, therefore, not receive all the available diffused light. Panels that lay flat on the ground (and assuming there are no objects in the way) can receive diffused light from all directions.

The 8760 Report

Using the data above, this is combined with equations that are made for the sun’s position throughout the year. This provides the hourly average global sun exposure on an oriented and tilted surface (a solar panel), which can then be used to determine the average yearly output of an array.

TMY data requires professional analysis from meteorologists, scientists, and engineers, depending on the purpose for what it’s being used for. 

The outcome is the 8760 report, which provides a detailed analysis of solar power output throughout an entire year. The report is then used for:

  • Optimization: Including identifying peak production periods and areas for improvement or adjustment;
  • Financial Analysis: Estimating the return on investment, potential revenue opportunity, and economic viability of the project;
  • Performance Assessment: Understanding if the solar array is meeting expected performance levels and if any adjustments or improvements should be made;
  • System sizing and design: Including the expected generation capacity,  determining the optimum number of solar panels and the available installation space;
  • Performance monitoring: The 8760 report serves as a benchmark for the system’s performance and output and shows if it’s under or overperforming;
  • Renewable Energy Certificates: By quantifying the output of a solar system, a certificate can be obtained to help meet renewable energy targets.

Through the report’s continued use, solar panels and arrays can be continuously optimized to maintain peak performance throughout their lifespan.

8760 Solar for Your Farm

Solar panel in a field

At 8760 Solar, we’re more than just a name. We’re committed to helping you get the best from your solar array, no matter what type of farm, agricultural, or rural business you may have.

Our work starts with a thorough analysis of your farm where we will determine the best kind of setup and the best place and position for it to be installed. 

You can be assured that 8760 will help you get the most out of your solar investment and start creating abundant clean and cheap energy to run your business with.

If you’re curious about how solar can benefit your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Text “READY” to 719 470-0254 or contact us via email: sales@8760solar.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an 8760 Report?

An 8760 report consists of hour-by-hour meteorological data, which determines how efficient a solar panel will be in a specific location. The report is used to optimize a solar installation so that maximum output can be achieved.

What Is the 8760 Method?

8760 refers to the number of hours in a meteorological year. Solar and meteorological data is gathered hour-by-hour in specific locations across the world, which allows us to understand and calculate average weather patterns. This data is highly useful for a number of applications, including energy efficiency and solar installations.

Why Is 8760 Important?

8760 is important because it allows us to maximize and optimize renewable energy installations and reach better standards of energy efficiency. By relying on its accurate data, we can continue to improve and advance in these areas.

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