Los Alamos Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Los Alamos, California
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.8 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8.8 hours per day
Peak sun hours is arguably the most important number to consider before installing your solar panels. Unlike total sun hours, peak sun hours are calculated by looking at the amount of sunlight hours in a 24 hour period that is strong enough to be absorb by a solar panel. One way to imagine peak sun hours is to think about a solar powered calculator you owned in school. If you covered the solar panel with your finger, or tried to use the calculator in the dark, the calculator would not work. As you slowly exposed the calculator to light the calculator would eventually turn on and be usable. The same is true with peak sun hours; these are the hours that your solar panels receive enough sunlight to work. Looking at the average peak sunlight hours of 5.8 per day can help you determine the amount of solar panels you need to install to power your home or business in Los Alamos, California.
Knowing that the latitude of Los Alamos is 34.7 can be helpful for understanding total sunlight hour variance. As you approach the equator latitude approaches zero. The closer the latitude is to zero, the more consistent the daily sunlight hours are throughout the year. Total sunlight hour consistency simply makes planning for your solar power needs easier, but it is certainly not a requirement.
The sun moves through the sky during the day, and changes positions in the sky throughout the year as the seasons change. A fixed solar panel remains fixed in position during this movement. So, although it is effective in capturing sunlight, a 1-axis or 2-axis panel can be more efficient. A 1-axis panel tracks the sun's movement throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. In addition to that, the 2-axis panel also accounts for the movement throughout the year.
Looking at latitude, average peak sun hours and various data can obviously help when planning for your solar power needs. The one thing you can never fully account for is changing weather. Storms, rain, cloud coverage all have an impact on solar panel capabilities.
In Los Alamos the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 5.8. 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 7.5 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 8.8 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.