Fairfax Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Fairfax, South Dakota
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.5 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.9 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.5 hours per day
Looking at the average peak sunlight hours in Fairfax is a valuable number for determining your solar power setup. Peak sunlight hours are only the hours a day in which the sunlight is strong enough for the solar panels to do their job. Not every hour of sunlight was created equal. For example, solar panels do not provide much use during early sunrise and sunset, and therefore you should not look at total hours of sunlight in a day, but instead focus on peak sunlight hours. Using this number will provide a much better estimate of your needs for setting up panels in Fairfax, South Dakota.
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 Fairfax is 43.0.
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.
By taking the latitude of Fairfax one can get a close estimate of the amount of average peak sun hours per day for the geographical area. It varies with technology and the type of solar panel mount you use, but for a fixed mount solar panel in Fairfax one can expect close to 4.5 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 5.9 hours per day, and 6.5 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.
Helpful & Interesting
How much land would it take to power the U.S. with solar? According to a 2008 analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, supplying all of the United States' electricity needs with photovoltaic solar energy would require roughly 0.6 percent of America's total land area or 1,948 square feet per person.