Brooks Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Brooks, Alabama
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.9 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.1 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.3 hours per day
It goes without saying that throughout the year the amount of sunlight in any given day is going to vary. The time of year and weather will have a strong influence on daily sunshine. Looking at the average amount of peak sunshine hours in a day during an entire year stretch is a valuable exercise when trying to determine the amount and type of solar panels you need to install to power your business or your home. 4.9 peak sun hours means that in Brooks on average there are 4.9 hours a day where the sun is strong enough for solar panels to harness its energy. This number is less than the amount of total sunlight hours in a day because there are times during the day (ex. sunrise and sunset) where the sun is not strong enough to benefit solar panels.
The latitude at the equator of the earth is zero degrees. This is where sunlight strikes the earth most directly. Due to the earth's curved shape, sunlight hits at a various angles depending on location. As latitude increases, the further you are located from the equator and more variance you see in sunlight hours. The latitude of Brooks is 31.5.
Although most things are out of our control, like the sunrise, sunset or the weather, we can control the angle and the kind of mount we use for a solar panel. The angle of the solar panel, if using a fixed mount, should generally be around the angle that is equal to the latitude of the location to maximize output. In the northern hemisphere, panels angles should be lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months As a fixed mount is set, it is ideal to place it at an angle that will capture the most sunlight during the year. A 1-axis tracking solar mount will track the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset, but the angle will remain the same throughout the day. A 2-axis solar mount will track the sun throughout the day from East to West, but the angle will also change automatically as the seasons change and the angle of the sun in the sky changes. Thus, a 2-axis will have a higher rating of peak sun hours compared to the 1-axis or fixed.
The sun is a great ball of gas that rises and sets every day that the earth rotates while in orbit around the sun. Barring any major disasters this is a very predictable occurance every day. Latitude helps predict this even more, narrowing it down to the minute for sunrise and sunset. But some things aren’t as predictable that will greatly influence the efficiency of solar panels. Weather and cloud coverage for example can greatly diminish peak sun hours on any given day. Thick storm clouds will block a high percentage of the sun's rays, resulting in lower output of your solar panels. Weather needs to be factored into deciding when to use your system, or how much output one expects to get.
We can take the latitude of Brooks and use that number to know the amount of total sunlight hours in the region from sunlight to sunset and estimate that with a fixed solar panel, Brooks will receive 4.9 average peak sun hours per day. This number can be increased to 6.1 hours by using a 1-axis tracking mount, or 6.3 hours from a 2-axis tracking mount.