Does Shading Affect Solar Panel Productivity?

Shading can be a headache for people wanting to achieve the benefits of renewable energy for their homes but feel that shading may run a negative over their overall solar panel cost. The effect of shading on solar panels can lead to homeowners losing up to 40% of their solar generation due to inconvenient shading.

As the shadow is cast over a panel, the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of your solar panels is reduced and affects the power output of your PV modules. Despite this, the impact of shading can be reduced in itself and prevented.

How Does Shading Work?

Solar panels are traditionally connected in a series of parallel strings, which means that if one panel is covered by shade from an opposite building, tree or chimney – the connected panels within that string will also lose power.

The panels are wired together in a way that output is reduced to that of the weakest panel within the system. Shading just one cell in a module to half causes the output power of the entire module to fall to half, no matter how many cells are in the string. Completely shading one cell causes output power to drop to zero.

What Causes Shading?

When looking to install a domestic solar panels system in your home or commercial solar panels on your business, there are several kinds of shading considerations to discuss with the installer ahead of time.

Shading can happen in many forms from seasonal to unique, such as shadows cast by moving clouds and falling leaves – which are temporary forms of shading. This can also include shading from snow, bird droppings and dust especially.

The major contributors to shading that affects your system will fall more into shades caused by surrounding trees, satellite dishes, buildings or chimneys – but these can be pre-planned to strategically place bespoke solar PV systems that avoid these factors.

Solutions

There are several ways to combat the effects of shading, including various solar panel optimisers and other smart devices. However, there are also ways of working with your installer upfront to plan against and around obstructions.

Your panel layout can be designed to minimise shading as much as possible and make it shade proof. It can be as simple as factoring in what times during the day that shading occurs, how long it lasts and how much it will impact your solar generation.

By installing your system in a unique set-up, you can still access solar power by having minimal shading at midday and during the summer it may not need addressing at all.

Contact the team at Positive Energy Solutions today to discover the solutions around the effect of shading on solar panels in your switch to green energy.

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