Rice Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Rice, 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
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 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 Rice is 32.2.
You will notice the difference in peak sunlight hours depending on the panel type. The more flexibility the solar panel has the efficient it can be throughout the day and the year. A fixed solar panel remains in the same position at all times. A 1-axis panel follows the sun throughout the day as it moves through the sky and eventually sets. A 2-axis panel not only tracks the daily movement, but also adjusts based on the sun's changing position in the sky throughout the year as the seasons change.
Weather is a big determinate of average peak sun hours each day. There are many aspects of weather that can increase or lessen the peak sun hours in a day in a particular location. For example cloud coverage is a crucial variable. And more importantly, what type of cloud coverage; thin scattered clouds will have less diminishing power on the solar insolation than thick rainy storm clouds. Sometimes long periods of sunny days are rare in certain locations, this would increase average peak sun hours for that time-frame
Using the latitude of Rice along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 4.8 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 7.4 hours and 8.1 hours, respectively.