Shade and Solar Panels

Have you been thinking of going solar? One important thing to look into is if the trees around your house shade your roof. Even if your roof is shaded partially, this can be a solar deal breaker.

Shade and solar are directly linked. The amount of shade that hits a roof correlates to the productivity of a roof’s solar panels. If even part of your roof is covered in shade, it will reduce the system’s charging power. If one quarter of a roof is covered, the shade will reduce the output of your system by 50% and sometimes unravel the entire system.

Each solar panel is composed of many different cells that are all connected and rely on each other to perform for overall production. The panels are equipped with sensors that reroute the electrical currents maneuvering around the cells that are not performing. In an effort to correct the production output, this rerouting serves to lose the potential energy created and lowers the voltage in the string of cells. As a result, the shade that feels so nice in the summer months actually hinders your home’s solar potential.

That being said, before committing to solar, check that your house has a roof plane that faces south with unobstructed sunlight.   See if any nearby trees block direct sunlight from hitting your roof at various time of day.

If you are interested in going solar but you have a lot of trees or your neighbor’s trees cast a shadow on your home, you have several options.

If you are willing to part with some trees on your property, trim them back or cut them down. Be certain to check watershed and other environmental factors if your are engaging in a significant tree-removal project.  In exchange, plant other greenery such as hedges or gardens on your property and power your house via solar energy so you can get the best of both worlds.

Negotiate with your neighbors by explaining your interest in going solar and how their trees would prevent a solar system from working. Offer to help pay for the removal of trees and the replanting of other bushes or smaller trees that won’t shade your roof and prevent your solar system from running properly.

If solar is something you are very invested in, make sure that there are no barriers that would prevent your system from running effectively! Remember, there are ways to go green and still maintain the greenery in your yard.

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