Ice on the Dodger

Ice on the Dodger, Nov 2011, 37 miles S of Norfolk Va

In the Ch-ch-ch-Changes post I noted that the solar aspects of changes in latitude were moot. That is only because of our solar system design. So, with one caveat, I’ll explain.

We wouldn’t intentionally live on a solar boat through a Chesapeake winter, even as far south as Mile “0”. That said, here’s what our 2011-12 changes in latitude meant in solar terms — as I sit barefoot barely in South Carolina eating clam dip listening to boat-tailed grackles and Christmas music waiting for the next cold front to have done with us so we can move on.

HoursFirst, the hours of sunlight along our route were 2675.8  compared to 2666.3 had we stayed at Hospital Point in Norfolk the same period (~0.36% more). Clearly, the temps would have been different!

ElevationSecond, the sun’s elevation was higher as we went south, and it’s trajectory was also longer, and thus, radiance was higher on average. This delivered  the improvement shown (for solar panels, if not skin).



These latitude driven changes combine to provide about 20% additional solar energy to the panels. This doesn’t count, that over the period charted, average cloudiness along the Eastern Seaboard was 45% while in the Bahamas it was 37% (and much of the undersides of those clouds were turquoise).

So what? Well, since the solar panels are sized to exceed demand by at least a third, they recharge the batteries pretty much in three hours no matter where we are, but we really enjoy those three hours a great deal more looking at turquiose bottomed clouds rather than ice crystals on the dodger.

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