Athens Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Athens, Texas
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.8 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7.4 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8.1 hours per day
If you put your solar powered math calculator in your backpack it will turn off from the lack of sunlight needed to power the device. As you slowly open your backpack and begin to let sunlight in, the calculator will eventually turn on when the amount of sunlight is enough to power the calculator. Similarly, peak sun hours refer to the hours of they day where the sunlight is strong enough to power a solar panel. This is different from total sunlight hours, which is simply the amount of hours in a day when there is any sunlight.
Knowing that the latitude of Athens is 32.2 can be helpful for understanding total sunlight hour variance. As you approach the equator latitude approaches zero. The closer the latitude is to zero, the more consistent the daily sunlight hours are throughout the year. Total sunlight hour consistency simply makes planning for your solar power needs easier, but it is certainly not a requirement.
Depending on your output needs, to get more out of your solar panels you can either upgrade your technology, buy more panels, or buy different tracking type panels. A fixed solar panel remains fixed at one angle throughout the year. A 1-axis panel will produce more output because it follows the path of the sun from sunrise to sunset to maximize sun exposure. Even more productive is a 2-axis panel that not only follows the sun's path throughout the day, but also accounts for the more subtle sun changes throughout the year with the different seasons.
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.
By taking the latitude of Athens 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 Athens one can expect close to 4.8 average peak sun hours per day. With a 1-axis tracking mount you would get 7.4 hours per day, and 8.1 hours per day with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.