Your rooftop solar panel system will not produce energy at maximum capacity if any portion is shaded during peak daylight hours.
When the sun can’t reach your photovoltaic array, the solar cells can’t harness any energy, and that means your PV system can’t make any electricity. So if you have shade problems, you’ll have to lean on the utility company more often — and pay higher power bills.
To see your financial investment in photovoltaic power pay off more quickly, it’s important to avoid paying for grid electricity whenever possible. If you want to increase your energy output and decrease your reliance on the utility company, you’ll have to solve your rooftop solar panel shade problems.
Your photovoltaic system needs an inverter to convert the sun’s DC energy to useable AC electricity. Grid-tied arrays can use either string inverters or micro-inverters, but the latter is a better choice for solar panel shade problems.
With a string inverter, a little bit of shading on one of the rooftop solar panels can bring down the energy output of your entire photovoltaic array.
Shade isn’t as problematic for a rooftop solar system that has micro-inverters. Each of the solar panels has its own inverter, so the rest of the photovoltaic array isn’t affected if one is shaded. As a result, the overall energy output of the PV system is improved.
Trees can be big shade problems for photovoltaic panels, limiting the energy output of your PV system.
Removing shade-casting trees or trimming their branches can be easy, effective solutions. However, if the offending trees aren’t on your property, you’ll need to get permission first. The same goes if you live in a community with a homeowners association.
If your neighbor or HOA won’t let you remove or trim a problem tree, look into your state’s solar access and easement laws. Once you know your rights, you’ll be in a better position to make an effective argument for getting rid of your shade problem.
If your rooftop has lots of chimneys and vents, or if the surface has a lot of valleys, solving your shade problems may require a different approach.
When the roof structure makes it all but impossible to avoid shade, installing a ground-mounted PV system is sometimes the best solution. The photovoltaic panels can be placed in at the ideal orientation and tilt to capture the most sun. Rooftop solar is less expensive, but going with a ground-mounted photovoltaic array allows for maximum energy output.
The professional team at Intermountain Wind & Solar, the leading photovoltaic provider for Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada, has nearly a decade of experience designing cost-effective solar systems that provide optimal energy output.
Our expert contractors can work with you to plan a PV system that powers your home or business and cuts your utility electricity costs. Contact Intermountain Wind & Solar and schedule a free, no-pressure consultation for ground-mounted or rooftop solar panel system installation.
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