Rockbridge Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Rockbridge, Ohio
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.3 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.4 hours per day
The average peak sun hours of Rockbridge is a crucial measurable component needed to efficiently implement a solar power system in a home or business. Put simply, peak sun hours are the hours of sunlight a day that are strong enough to be efficiently absorbed by solar panels and eventually turned into usable electricity. Not every minute of sunlight during a day is strong enough to be useful to a solar power system. Think about just minutes after the sunrises, which officially counts towards total hours of sunlight, but is usually too weak to be counted in peak sun hours because the strength of the solar insolation is not strong enough near the horizon to be absorbed and turned into electricity at an efficient rate. Times during the day like this, where the sun is out but not strong enough, are not counted as peak sun hours. In other words, the amount of peak sun hours in a location will theoretically always be less than total sunlight hours for a given day.
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 Rockbridge is 39.6.
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.
There are more variables than latitude that can change average peak sun hours. Weather patterns and geography will influence solar insolation that reaches your system. Thick grey storm clouds for example will block out a lot of the sun to the point where there may be no peak sun hours in the middle of the day when the sun is usually very powerful. Trees and mountains can deflect the sunlight, so be sure your solar panel is selectively placed.
We can use previous years of data to estimate the amount of peak sun hours in Rockbridge. A fixed tilt mount for example will receive 4.3 average hours per day. For more efficiency for your system in Rockbridge you could use a 1-axis tracking mount and increase your daily peak sun average to 5.5 hours, or even further with a 2-axis panel to get an average of 5.4 hours.