Shading’s Impact on Solar and the Best Way to Handle Them

Shade is your enemy when it comes to solar power. Even if only a small portion of your solar array is shaded, the effect on the efficiency and performance of your whole PV system can have a considerable impact. Shading has a large effect on the performance of a solar power system. The time of day matters; if the shading occurs outside the hours of 9 AM – 3 PM, the impact may be nominal. 

Partial shading of the system also matters as all panels in a section need to run at the same voltage; if one panel is shaded even partially, this will bring down the production of the whole system. There are ways around this such as splitting the array into multiple strings or using micro inverters on the back of panels which we here at Venergy can suggest for your circumstances. 

As we’ll see later in this post, there are a number of ways to reduce the impact of shading on solar panels. Take heed, solar panel buyers, take serious heed!

What causes solar panel shading?

When solar panels are exposed to shady conditions, their efficiency drops, and their performance suffers as a result. Environmental obstructions such as trees or nearby buildings, clouds, self-shading between panels in parallel rows, dirt, dust, and various other trash such as bird droppings, all cause shading. These shading effects may be static as a result of the obstruction’s location, or dynamic in certain situations, such as a shadow cast by moving clouds.

Important: Even if only 1% of a photovoltaic solar panel is in the shade, your entire solar array might lose 50 – 80% of its power production depending on the circumstances. As a result, it’s important that your solar energy system is kept out of the shade as much as possible throughout the day.

How to fix shading problems?

  • Choose the best installer. A good installation company will customise your solar system by taking your house and its surroundings in mind. When you deal with Venergy, we can perform shade mapping for your rooftop to determine the impact on the system’s production, and our installer can then design and recommend a better panel system that can work efficiently and minimise the effect of shading. For more information on solar, click here to receive a free, no-obligation quote.
  • Avoid shading where possible. Eliminating solar shading problems is the most effective way to avoid them. Consider installing your solar system in a spot on your roof that isn’t shaded. It might be possible to reposition all or part of your system, preferably one that will produce solar energy at times when you are using electricity.
  • Micro inverters and power optimisers. To solve the issue of partial shading, both microinverters and power optimisers are used. It enables each solar panel to operate independently, so even if one panel is shaded, the other panels can continue to function at maximum capacity. 
  • Pick the most efficient solar panels. Solar panels work best when there is no shade cast upon them. Thanks to the unique parallel circuitry design which can be found in higher-quality, advanced panels such as SunPower, shading loss is limited to just the shaded area. As a result, these panels deliver more energy than conventional panels due to higher performance in shade. Watch this video below to learn more about the benefits of using SunPower® Performance panels.

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