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solar power - not as simple as you might think

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People rarely consider the fact that solar panels will not always receive the theoretical (clear sky) total irradiation either directly (DNI) or diffusely (GHI). Phoenix, AZ is famous for it's "clear" skies; but a human's opinion of what is or isn't "clear" is not what counts. In fact, the sky over Phoenix is only *technically* clear part of the time, as shown in the figures below, which are *measured* data, not human observation. If you plan to pay for your solar field by selling electricity, you had better account for the fact that it won't be getting that ideal input throughout the official daylight hours. I also attached an animation of what a solar collector field looks like from above--something you don't often see in promotional brochures.




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