Rochester Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Rochester, Texas
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.3 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7.4 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8 hours per day
Peak sun hours are a vital measurement to understand when considering the installation of solar panels. Peak sun hours are not the same as total sunlight hours because not every hour of sunlight during the day has enough strength and solar insolation to qualify as a peak sun hour. The rule of thumb is that a peak sun hour is when the intensity of the sun that is hitting your solar panel is providing at least 1,000 watts per square meter. This is an arbitrary number, but it is a number where most solar panels will be producing an efficient output and not underperforming due to sunshine that is not strong enough or direct enough.
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 Rochester is 33.3.
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.
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.
Since we know the latitude of Rochester we can take the average amount of total sunlight hours and estimate that with a fixed solar panel there would be an average of 5.3 peak sun hours per day. 7.4 hours per day with a 1-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun from sunrise to sunset, and 8 hours with a 2-axis tracking mount that tracks the sun everywhere in the sky.