Tornillo Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours
Solar Green Energy Summary for Tornillo, Texas
Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.2 hours per day
1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 7 hours per day
2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 8 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 Tornillo is 31.4 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.
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 31.4 for Tornillo. 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.
There are more variables than latitude that can change average peak sun hours. Weather patterns and geography will influence solar insolation that reaches your system. Thick grey storm clouds for example will block out a lot of the sun to the point where there may be no peak sun hours in the middle of the day when the sun is usually very powerful. Trees and mountains can deflect the sunlight, so be sure your solar panel is selectively placed.
We can use previous years of data to estimate the amount of peak sun hours in Tornillo. A fixed tilt mount for example will receive 5.2 average hours per day. For more efficiency for your system in Tornillo you could use a 1-axis tracking mount and increase your daily peak sun average to 7 hours, or even further with a 2-axis panel to get an average of 8 hours.