Santa Clara Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Santa Clara, Texas
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.7 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6.7 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8.3 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.
Your latitude is an indicator of when the sunrises and sunsets and certain times of the year. If you live near the equator with a latitude of near zero, the sun will rise and set close to the same time all year resulting in consistent total sunlight hours per day. If you live near the poles, the time of sunrise and sunset will vary dramatically with each season, resulting in long days for part of the year and very short days at other times. So, locations closer to the equator will have more consistent amounts of peak sun hours throughout the year than locations closer to the poles.
Since a fixed solar panel is set in one position it is ideal to place it at an angle that will expose the panel to the most sunlight throughout the year. This angle is generally the same angle of your latitude which is 29.6 for Santa Clara. You do not need to strategically place a 1-axis or 2-axis panel as much as you do a fixed panel. A 1-axis panel follows the movement of the sun during the day. Additionally, a 2-axis panel also adjusts for the suns various positions in the sky throughout the year.
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.
In Santa Clara you can look at the average peak sun hours of a fixed solar panel mount, which will be 4.7 hours. This number iis an estimate based on data of previous years. With a tracking mount in Santa Clara you could theoretically increase the amount of peak sun hours per with a 1-axis mount, and get 6.7 hours, or a 2-axis mount and potentially increase your average to 8.3 hours.