Patagonia Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Patagonia, Arizona
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.5 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 9.2 hours per day
When trying to calculate your solar power needs there are a variety of factors to consider. Panel type and location, electricity needs, number of panels needed etc. One key to figuring out the math is factoring in the average peak sunlight hours in a day. Unlike total sunlight hours, peak sunlight hours are only when the sun is strong enough to power your solar panel. Using this number can help determine your needs to power your home or business in Patagonia, Arizona.
Your latitude is an indicator of when the sunrises and sunsets and certain times of the year. If you live near the equator with a latitude of near zero, the sun will rise and set close to the same time all year resulting in consistent total sunlight hours per day. If you live near the poles, the time of sunrise and sunset will vary dramatically with each season, resulting in long days for part of the year and very short days at other times. So, locations closer to the equator will have more consistent amounts of peak sun hours throughout the year than locations closer to the poles.
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.
Peak sun hours are greatly affected by weather patterns. Cloud coverage is a huge factor in peak sun hours per day because heavy cloud coverage will diminish the power of the solar insolation. You can use historical climate data to estimate average cloud and weather coverage, but it will obviously vary slightly from year to year.
In Patagonia the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 6.5. This is for a fixed panel mounted at an angle that is equal to the latitude of the location for the entire year. The amount of peak sun hours increases to 8 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 9.2 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.