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WILL TREES AFFECT MY SOLAR PANELS?

As people increasingly turn to solar energy and are interested on commercial solar installations and home solar installation, one common concern arises: How will trees affect my solar panels?

We all know trees provide that oh-so-valuable shade we need on those especially hot summer days. Put simply, they’re great at keeping things cool and comfortable. But their presence can also block sunlight in undesirable places — like on your solar panels.

When trees cast too much shadow on solar panels, it affects their performance (specifically their efficiency and effectiveness). This isn’t good news for your system’s overall energy output!

In this article, we’ll explore the impact trees have on solar panels and how to improve any potential performance issues from shading.

 

SHADING AND SOLAR PANEL PERFORMANCE

 

As we’d expect, solar panels work optimally when they receive direct, unobstructed sunlight. So any shading from trees may hinder their ability to generate maximum energy.

With that said, even partial shading on a small portion of your panels can influence the efficiency of your entire system. Why? It’s because solar panels typically interconnect (that is, connect to one another via intricate wiring).

So when one panel’s efficiency is lower or higher than another’s, it either improves or worsens the surrounding panels. And this eventually affects your entire system’s energy output.

Let’s explore some factors that contribute to shade on your panels.

 

TREE POSITIONING AND SOLAR PANEL ORIENTATION

 

Both the position and height of trees around your solar panels have direct impacts on how shaded — and thus less efficient — your solar panel system is.

For example, trees on the east or west side of your solar system will cast shadows during specific (and crucial) times of the day, when the sun rises and sets. Meanwhile, trees on the south end of your system will deliver more constant shading throughout the day, when the sun is high and gradually moving across the sky.

In sum, it’s important to assess the trees around your home or business, specifically their height and proximity to your system, before installing solar panels. Ultimately, you’ll better understand shading patterns and how much energy you can realistically produce without cutting down any of your beloved trees.

SEASONAL VARIATIONS

 

Other factors to consider are seasonal changes.

Depending on the season, trees can cause more or less panel shading. For example, your panels likely see less shade in the winter, when the sun’s lower in the sky, compared to the summer, when the sun’s higher.

It’s crucial that you consider these seasonal patterns (as well as climate characteristics in your geographic location) when determining your trees’ unique shade potential. That way, you can determine whether trees are affecting your solar panels’ performance.

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