Rochester Solar Power Information & Peak Sun Hours

Solar Green Energy Summary for Rochester, Wisconsin

Lattitude: 42.7337

Sunlight

Fixed Tilt Sunlight Hours: 4.6 hours per day

1-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 5.3 hours per day

2-Axis Tilt Sunlight Hours: 6 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 of the location is important for measuring peak sun hours. The latitude determines how much overall sunlight there will be in a day. With a given latitude, time and date, one can accurately determine when sunrise and sunset will occur. Areas with latitudes closer to the equator will have a more consistent range of solar insolation throughout the year. Whereas areas closer to the poles will have a greater variance during the summer and winter months due to their higher latitudes.

Although most things are out of our control, like the sunrise, sunset or the weather, we can control the angle and the kind of mount we use for a solar panel. The angle of the solar panel, if using a fixed mount, should generally be around the angle that is equal to the latitude of the location to maximize output. In the northern hemisphere, panels angles should be lower in the winter months and higher in the summer months As a fixed mount is set, it is ideal to place it at an angle that will capture the most sunlight during the year. A 1-axis tracking solar mount will track the sun across the sky from sunrise to sunset, but the angle will remain the same throughout the day. A 2-axis solar mount will track the sun throughout the day from East to West, but the angle will also change automatically as the seasons change and the angle of the sun in the sky changes. Thus, a 2-axis will have a higher rating of peak sun hours compared to the 1-axis or fixed.

Looking at latitude, average peak sun hours and various data can obviously help when planning for your solar power needs. The one thing you can never fully account for is changing weather. Storms, rain, cloud coverage all have an impact on solar panel capabilities.

Using the latitude of Rochester along with historical data of sunlight and weather patterns we can estimate that a fixed mounted solar panel will receive an average of 4.6 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 5.3 hours and 6 hours, respectively.


Solar Businesses in Rochester, Wisconsin




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