To maximize your solar energy output, clear the path between your panel array and the sun.
The more free power your photovoltaic system creates, the more you save on monthly utility bills. And when you have optimal solar output, you will reach the payback point on your PV system faster.
Removing obstacles that shade your property is one sure way to increase your solar energy production.
How Shade Affects Solar Energy Output
Photovoltaic panels need sunlight to produce electricity. Any amount of shading — even partial shade — will reduce their energy output.
If your PV system has a string inverter, the effect can be profound. String inverters convert power for all the photovoltaic modules in an array. So if shade covers even one solar panel, it will decrease the overall system production.
Micro-inverters can provide a partial solution this problem, because each solar panel is connected to its own inverter. Consequently, shading on one won’t affect the energy output of the other photovoltaic modules. But you will still lose the power output of whatever panels are in the shade.
Whenever possible, obstacles that create shade should be removed. Eliminating shade problems helps optimize solar energy production.
Handling Shade from Nearby Trees
Trees can add natural beauty to your landscape, but they can be a real problem for solar output. The easiest solution is to remove trees that shade your photovoltaic panels. Or, if you prefer to keep the trees, regularly trim away the offending branches.
However, if the shade-causing trees aren’t on your property or you live in a community with a homeowners association, you can’t simply cut them down.
Some neighbors and HOAs are reasonable, and will at least allow you to trim a branch or two. If yours aren’t, check into your state’s solar access and easement laws. Knowing your rights can help you make an effective argument for removing these obstacles to your photovoltaic production.
Dealing with Permanent Shade Problems
Rooftop obstructions, such as chimneys and vents, can easily shade nearby photovoltaic panels. Since moving these obstacles isn’t usually practical, PV system placement must be carefully planned to avoid shading.
With some rooftops, it is nearly impossible to avoid shading of your photovoltaic modules. In these cases, installing a ground-mounted PV system is a preferable route to optimal solar energy output.
Ground-mounted photovoltaic modules can be installed in any sunny spot on your property. Since this type of PV system can be placed at the perfect tilt and orientation, maximum electricity production can be achieved.
The experts at Intermountain Wind & Solar, serving Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Wyoming, understand the challenges of shading and photovoltaic production. Our professional team can design and install an efficient PV system that works around any potential obstructions. Contact us today to learn how we can help you optimize your solar energy output.