There’s a solar farm just north of Winfield Village, with ranks of solar arrays that turn from pointing east to pointing straight up to pointing west. (Oddly, they’re not arranged to point south. I assume the people who built it knew what they were doing, but I’ve been puzzling over it for a couple of years.)

The directions they point (and the timing of the changes) seem odd, and I’ve been trying to characterize the whole thing.

I initially assumed that they’d be programmed to point a particular direction based on ephemeris data about where the sun will be, but that seems not to be the case.

Here’s one piece of data: At dawn they do not turn to point east. Rather, they turn to point straight up:

Array of solar panels pointing pretty much straight up

It is only after the sun is well up that the panels turn to face east.

Last night, perhaps an hour before sunset, they were pointed about halfway between west and straight up. Which kind of makes sense, as there were clouds to the west, so they clear sky straight up was probably as bright as the sun behind the cloudy sky.

My current working theory is that the panels turn to face whatever direction produces the most power, regardless of where the sun is in the sky.

Array of solar panels pointing mostly west.

I’ll continue to watch, and try to characterize their behavior further.

Maybe I’ll even get in touch with the University and see if they can provide a link to a description!

Thought it might be getting a little late for third coffee, but looked at the clock and it was barely after 9:00 AM! Maybe we should go back to standard time every day!

I would prefer local solar time, and had thought next best would be permanent standard time, but maybe setting the clocks back an hour every day would be even better!

Sun setting over a Winfield Village parking lot

Me: It’s not even 8:00 PM yet, and it’s already nearly dark outside. I guess it is a full month since the solstice.

Jackie: Don’t go getting depressed though!

Me: No, that’s for later. Now I just get anxious that in a few months I’ll get depressed.