Firesteel Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Firesteel, South Dakota
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.1 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.7 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 Firesteel is valuable for calculating your solar needs.
Sunlight hits the earth directly at the equator. This is why the equator has a latitude of zero degrees. The latitude of Firesteel is 45.4. Knowing the latitude of Firesteel 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.
Peak sun hours are greatly affected by weather patterns. Cloud coverage is a huge factor in peak sun hours per day because heavy cloud coverage will diminish the power of the solar insolation. You can use historical climate data to estimate average cloud and weather coverage, but it will obviously vary slightly from year to year.
We can use previous years of data to estimate the amount of peak sun hours in Firesteel. A fixed tilt mount for example will receive 5 average hours per day. For more efficiency for your system in Firesteel you could use a 1-axis tracking mount and increase your daily peak sun average to 6.1 hours, or even further with a 2-axis panel to get an average of 6.7 hours.