Chelsea Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Chelsea, South Dakota
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.1 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.3 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7.9 hours per day
Peak sun hours is one of the most important criteria to examine when considering installing a solar power system. Peak sun hours are different than total sunlight hours in a day because the strength of the radiation of the sun varies throughout the day. For example, during sunrise and sunset the solar insolation from the sun is less powerful than at noon. For a moment of sunshine to be considered a peak sun hour the intensity needs to be at least 1 kilowatt per square meter. This means that a square meter of your solar panel should be receiving 1 kilowatt of energy from the sun. This number is used because it is an amount of light that allows a solar panel to produce output efficiently and not under perform due to lack of sunlight power.
The equator has a latitude of zero while Chelsea has a latitude of 45.2. Any city located on the equator will receive the most sunlight throughout the year because the sunlight arrives at a perpendicular 90 degree angle to the earth at the equator. The further you are from the equator the more your daily sunlight hours can vary.
They type of solar panel you use has an affect on the average peak sunlight hours. Some panels allow for movement, so they can track the sun as it rises in the east and sets in the west, or as the seasons change and the sun's path changes. A fixed panel remains fixed and does not have the ability to rotate, whereas a 1-axis and 2-axis panel can adjust with the sun.
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.
Using the latitude of Chelsea along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 5.1 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 6.3 hours and 7.9 hours, respectively.