Cochrane Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Cochrane, Alabama
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.1 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.3 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.4 hours per day
The amount of hours from sunrise to sunset is equal to the total sunlight hours in a 24 hour period. Similarly, peak sun hours are the amount of total sunlight hours in a 24 hour period that are strong enough to provide power from being captured by a solar panel. Not every hour of sunlight delivers the same amount of energy resources. The sunlight at sunrise does not provide as many resources as the amount of sunlight mid-day. Thus, looking at the average peak sunlight hours for Cochrane is valuable for calculating your solar needs.
Although you can easily predict sunrise and sunset hours each day to the minute, looking at latitude can help with your solar planning. The closer you get to the equator the closer your latitude gets to zero. Sunlight hours on the equator are consistent throughout the entire year. Places further from the equator can have large variance in daily sunlight. For example higher latitudes can have very long summer days with lots of sunlight and very dark winters. The latitude of Cochrane is 33.1.
Since a fixed solar panel is set in one position it is ideal to place it at an angle that will expose the panel to the most sunlight throughout the year. This angle is generally the same angle of your latitude which is 33.1 for Cochrane. You do not need to strategically place a 1-axis or 2-axis panel as much as you do a fixed panel. A 1-axis panel follows the movement of the sun during the day. Additionally, a 2-axis panel also adjusts for the suns various positions in the sky throughout the year.
Another reason to consider average peak sun hours is because weather can dramatically affect the day-to-day output of solar panels. It goes without saying that a dark stormy day will produce less output than a clear sunny day. Looking at a yearly average helps account for these daily variables.
Using the latitude of Cochrane along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 5.1 hours per day in this area. That number can be increased with better technology including add a 1-axis or 2-axis tracking mount, which would increase the average peak sun hours per day to 6.3 hours and 6.4 hours, respectively.