Shade may be a killer phenomenon for a solar system so it needs to be away from shade as much as possible. This also depends upon the tilt and your location, for example, in a place like Florida it may not be a serious issue but for a New Jersey solar installation shade is nothing other than a killer.
Most reputable solar installation companies consider this phenomenon right from the start. During the site survey, they let the homeowner know if any shade is going to impact the solar array installation using satellite maps or onsite shading analysis tools.
If there is any shade impact over the proposed solar solution, the solar installation company may ask the homeowner if they are open to the tree work, before proceeding to the further steps. Solar companies usually have partnerships with tree service companies for any such work involved.
Some of the solar financing companies allow for associated tasks such as tree work to be covered under their financing programs.
Most home solar systems in NJ will remain in positive cash flow after any such additional tree work; thanks to the New Jersey solar incentives program.
Green Power Energy recommends at least 80% solar access to solar panels for an optimum performance. The tree shading at any site can be checked with a device called a “Suneye” which takes a fish eye lens view of the trees and shows the results as percentage of the shading impact. It is similar in function with the other online programs such as “Aurora” which utilizes high resolution satellite images to check for shading.
Apart from the initial steps to avoid shade, there are some other methods which can be used to minimize the effect of shading such as using bypass diodes. The solar panel’s efficiency which can be affected by shade on a particular solar cell can be minimized by using bypass diodes between the solar cells of the same panel.
Another method may be to use ground installed solar panels if your roof is under any shade impact.
One method is to use a string inverter which has Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) capability for string connected inverters. Most of the modern high end inverters come with this built-in feature. This feature enables the inverter to provide the maximum output possible under any shaded scenario.
Using micro inverters or power optimizers is also a good way to minimize the shading effect as these inverters usually work on panel by panel level and provide independent output from each of them. This may minimize the effect of the shading on a few solar panels whereas power output from the other panels still remains unaffected. This setup offers increased efficiency with minimal added cost.
Owners of home solar systems in NJ who have any query regarding the solar system viability or any shading impact involved should simply turn to their solar company for any assistance in this matter. Most of these companies will provide a free cost analysis report for their domestic or business clients to qualify the solar system along with a shading analysis.