Special Report

US Cities That Get the Most Sun

Methodology

To determine the U.S. cities that get the least sun, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the metropolitan statistical areas with the fewest hours of peak sun per day. A peak sun-hour is a period during which the intensity of sunlight exceeds 1,000 watts per square meter. 

We calculated hours of peak sun from the average kilowatt-hours of sunshine per square meter, or peak sun hours, for all metropolitan areas in the contiguous United States. 

Data on kilojoules of sunshine per square meter for the years 1979 to 2011 came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s North America Land Data Assimilation System (NLDAS) and were converted to kilowatt-hours per square meter and aggregated from the county level to metropolitan statistical area using boundary definitions and land area measurements from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Data on maximum average temperature and rainfall also came from CDC NLDAS and are for the years 1979 to 2011. Population statistics came from the Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.

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