How Much Sunshine Does Auckland Receive?
How does NIWA calculate a sunshine hour?
Sunshine hours can be a tricky thing to measure and can lead to disputes between towns wanting to become the sunshine capital of New Zealand.
Manual systems, like the Campbell-Stokes recorder, use a sphere to direct energy onto a tape that leaves a burn mark when sunlight is intense and not hiding behind a layer of cloud. These tapes are then observed at the end of each day with the burn marks providing a history of when the recorder was exposed to direct sunlight.
These systems are still in use in some centres, although they are being phased out in a move to automated systems which are more accurate and less prone to human error. The difference between these two forms of measurement appear to be the cause of the discrepancy in hours recorded at the Nelson and Richmond station, despite them being located a mere 4km from each other.
The many benefits of sunshine
As Statistics New Zealand state:
“Sunshine is essential for our mental and physical well-being and plant growth. It is also important for tourism and recreation.”
Sunshine can also be great for our wallets if it is harnessed to provide electrical energy through the use of solar panels.
Before investing in a solar power system we need to think economically and weigh up the ongoing benefits provided by solar panels against the upfront costs of installation.
In the same way that you would want to know how windy a location is before installing a wind turbine, it pays to know just how much solar energy falls on your section each year and how much of that you can expect to capture.
If you want to calculate just how much solar energy you could be missing out on, have a look at our Solar E-Valuator Tool.
How many sunshine hours does Auckland typically receive?
Auckland typically receives about 2,050 hours of sunshine each year. Our Solar E-Valuator tool shows that a standard 460m2 Auckland section would, therefore, receive approximately 75,000 kilowatt hours worth of potential solar energy each year.
Obviously it would be impractical to cover every square inch of your property in solar panels, but our Solar E-Valuator allows you to trace the outline of your roof area, providing an estimate of the potential solar energy falling on it each year and makes suggestion of which HRV system might the be best to begin supplementing your household's energy needs.
How do sunshine hours differ between summer and winter?
The other consideration with solar energy is the ebb and flow of solar energy not only between day and night but also between seasons. In Auckland, the difference between the peak of summer and the low of winter is about 50%. January receives over 200 hours of sunshine due to longer more settled days, while June only receives a touch over 100 hours of sunshine due to shorter days and increased likelihood of inclement weather.
As a result before installing a solar power system, it makes sense to balance the generation capacity of any solar power system you are considering at different times of the year against the energy requirements of your household so that you are able to fully enjoy your solar power system all year round.
How will climate change impact sunshine hours?
The news is good for holidaymakers and solar panel users alike. NIWA forecasts that:
“The patterns of cloud cover are changing as our climate changes. As storm tracks and subtropical dry zones shift poleward, less cloud cover and more sunshine is expected in the future in the mid-latitudes where New Zealand is located.”
If these predictions are correct your solar power system should experience more settled weather and less cloud cover increasing the opportunity to generate power for your home.
How does Auckland compare to the rest of NZ For sunshine hours
With an average result of 2,050 sunshine hours per year, Auckland performs about average compared to the rest of New Zealand and is comparable to the likes of overseas destinations like Melbourne (which receives 2,100 sunshine hours per year).
Across the rest of New Zealand, the Sunshine Capital is Blenheim with 2,500 hours closely followed by Nelson on 2,400 hours. Other popular summer destinations like Tauranga are not too far off the pace with 2,250 hours.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, Invercargill and Dunedin bring up the rear of the list, only managing to summon up 1,600 hours of sunshine each year. It could be worse however, London only records 1,500 hours per year making the trip a small improvement for some of Otago’s early settlers.