Bristol Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Bristol, South Dakota
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.7 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.9 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.7 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. 4.7 peak sun hours means that in Bristol on average there are 4.7 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.
Sunlight hits the earth directly at the equator. This is why the equator has a latitude of zero degrees. The latitude of Bristol is 45.3. Knowing the latitude of Bristol can help you plan for your solar panel setup, as the larger the latitude the more variance you will see throughout the year for total daily sunlight hours.
A tracking mount will increase the average peak sun hours for a solar power system. Think about a panel that is tracking the sun in the sky vs a panel that is fixed and not moving: you will see a higher efficiency ratio of productions. A 1-axis mount will track the sun from East to West from sunrise to sunset and move on a single axis of rotation. A 2-axis mount will track the Sun from East to West the same as a 1-axis mount would, but it will also track the angle of the sun in the sky as it slowly varies season to season. A 2-axis mount is more necessary in high latitude regions where the angle of the sun in the sky changes dramatically between each equinox.
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.
In Bristol the average yearly peak sun hours for a fixed tilt non-tracking solar panel mount is 4.7. 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 5.9 hours if you are using a 1-axis panel, and to 6.7 hours if you upgrade to a 2-axis solar panel.