Less light is better most of the time. A lot of people mistake more light with more plant growth. It is true that more light will give you more growth, but it only does so in a healthy system where the plants have adequate amounts of fertiliser and co2 to access. Unless you're running a show tank or one for a competition, in my opinion, seldom do you need a lot of light unless you're growing specific types of plants (i.e., red rotalas, some ludwigias, tonina, hemianthus cuba etc).
Can you change the timer mode without a remote? You definitely do not need lights on 24/7, even if it employs a night mode. At most, 10 hours in a well developed system. 6-8 hours is usually what I shoot for—there are exceptions, my low tech 'junk tank' (junk because it's where I dumped a lot excess plants I didn't want to bin) only has 4 hours of light a day. In a lot of streams, lakes, etc, most plants only have a few hours of direct sunlight.
Although there are those that will disagree, from my time dabbling in planted tanks, I'm inclined to say get algae when a) you have too much light, b) you have inadequate co2 and fertilisers, c) poor circulation, or d) all of the above. You're probably right about having too much light if plants lower down aren't effected. PAR levels are lower the further down you go, so they're being hit with less light.
I wouldn't worry about your window. Unless your tank is getting hit with direct sunlight, they're not as big a problem as people think they are. One of the nurseries here in Oz grows their plants without a shade cloth in full tropical sun and they're spotless. In my opinion, sun is only problem if you aren't prepared to adjust your system to deal with the demands it creates—and these can mostly be offset with more water changes.
Getting rid of algae can be a problem, but the key things I tend to do, are, firstly, to remove all affected leaves. If too much of the plant is overridden, I just bin it. After that, I reduce my light's intensity by 10% (if this isn't an option, I reduce photoperiod by 1 hour), make sure my filter(s) and hoses are clean, and if need be, change circulation patterns. I tend to do a few more water changes for a little while as well—instead of 1-2 a week, 3-4x. The other option is dosing with hydrogen peroxide, but I prefer to go with holistic measures. Chemical ones kill algae, but they don't really address the problem itself.