Bruce Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Bruce, South Dakota
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.5 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.8 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 Bruce 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 Bruce is 44.4.
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.
Weather is one of the major culprits that will cause inconsistent total peak sun hours for any given day. The sunrise and sunset will always be predictable every day, but the weather is hard to predict and cloud coverage can greatly diminish the efficiency of a solar power system on any given day. On the bright side, a location that is known to have cloudy weather a majority of the year could have unexpectedly more sunny days, so it can go both ways.
Using the latitude of Bruce along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 5 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 6.5 hours and 6.8 hours, respectively.