How to Prevent Shading on Solar Panels? | Solar Medix

How to Prevent Shading on Solar Panels?

Are you thinking about joining the solar revolution? Or you are already using a solar system, but its energy output is a bit insufficient. Solar panel shading is a common phenomenon, but it can be a major energy drain for homeowners with solar systems.

Roof-mounted solar systems are gaining popularity in the USA, but shading has a bad effect on their output and lifespan. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (USA), strategically placed shades can decrease output and reduce the lifespan of solar systems.

Careful system design that considers shade from nearby structures and seasonal changes is key to maximizing clean energy generation from your solar investment. Here at Solar Medix, we give it to you straight, knowing that maximizing your solar potential is the key.

This article delves into solar panel shading issues and explores proven tactics to keep your system shining bright and generating energy at its peak.

Effects of Shading on Solar Panel Efficiency | Solar Medix

What is the Effect of Shading on Solar Panel Efficiency?

Solar panel shading can result in severe losses, similar to a clog in the water pipe. It can reduce the current passing through the whole string, as every PV cell in the string must operate at the current set by the shaded cell. This can prevent unshaded cells from operating at peak performance as well.

Even partial shading of solar panels can significantly impact the total power output of the total PV system up to 75%. A similar principle implies that the PV modules are connected in such a way that they prevent the impact of reduced current flow from even a single module. Shading not only reduces overall energy production of the solar panels but it can damage it and reduce overall efficiency of your system.

Solar Panel Shading Solutions | Solar Medix

Solar Panel Shading Solutions

Solar panel shading effects can be reduced by using various solar design strategies, such as stringing arrangements, bypass diodes, and module-level power electronics (MLPEs). Solar Medix experts can help you avoid shading issues from the very beginning by designing your solar panel system accordingly, ensuring optimal performance for years to come.

Making Use of Stringing Arrangements

Stringing arrangements involve arranging modules in series or parallel to the inverter, which ensures that the same current passes through all the modules. Grouping shaded modules into separate strings can maximize the total overall power output of the solar array.

For example, in a commercial system with parapet walls, grouping modules receiving shades from parapets into strings and keeping unshaded modules in a separate parallel string can maintain a higher current and power output.

Get Bypass Diode

Bypass diodes are devices in solar modules that allow electrical current to bypass shaded regions. It allows higher currents from unshaded cell strings to flow around the shaded strings. However, this results in the loss of solar output from PV cells skipped over. In practice, every panel has 1 to 3 bypass diodes, affecting overall production.

Module- Level Power Electronics (MLPEs) for Optimal Performance

MLPEs are devices attached to individual solar modules to enhance performance under shaded conditions. Offering benefits like mismatch mitigation and module-level monitoring to reduce solar panel shading effects. We at Solar Medix can help you choose the right MLPE solution for your system based on your specific solar shading challenges. MLPEs include DC optimizers and power microinverters.

  • DC Optimizers for Maximum Output
    DC optimizers adjust the output voltage and current to maintain maximum power without compromising other modules’ performance. They boost current to match unshaded modules’ current, reducing output voltage to compensate. However, DC optimizers still need an inverter to convert DC electricity into AC power for home or business use.
  • Microinverters to Prevent Solar Panel Shading Effects
    Every PV panel in a solar system can have a small microinverter that converts its DC output to AC output, allowing each PV panel to operate at its maximum potential without affecting other panels in the system.
The 5 Step Shading Assessment by Solar Medix | Solar Medix

The 5 Step Shading Assessment by Solar Medix

With Solar Medix as your solar partner, you don’t have to worry about shading anymore, as we use a unique 5-step method to remove shading issues before they affect your solar system.

  • Site Scout
    Our experts thoroughly examine your solar site to identify any possible sources of shading, like trees or anything else.
  • Sun Path Stimulator
    We leverage specialized tools to assess and better understand the sun’s movement throughout the year to understand shading patterns.
  • Time-Lapse Tech
    We strategically make use of time-lapse photography for a deeper understanding of shading.
  • Shading Software
    Advanced software analyzes your site data and generates a complete shading report for optimal placement of solar panels.
  • Data-Driven Adjustments
    We will then recommend adjustments, for example, solar panel repositioning or any strategic trimming of solar panel if necessary for maximum sunlight capture

Conclusion

Solar users need to understand solar panel shading issues and solar panel shading effects to maximize their energy output. We have explored various strategies to overcome shading issues in this article, from strategic stringing arrangements to advanced module-level power electronics.

By implementing these strategies during solar system design and installation, homeowners and business users can significantly reduce the negative effect of shading. A well-designed solar system can optimize energy production, even in less-than-ideal sunlight conditions.

So, don’t let shadows steal your sunshine. Contact Solar Medix today for a free consultation and to avail yourself of our comprehensive shade study service, which will ensure that your solar panels are positioned for maximum sunlight exposure.

Common sources of shading include climate change, buildings, trees, antennae, poles, etc. “Self-shadowing” from other PV panel rows, horizontal shading from the topography surrounding the installation site, or other factors such as panel orientation, soiling, or differential age.

A solar system installer, such as experienced professionals of Solar Medix, can use a variety of mapping techniques to determine whether or not shading will be an issue.

When some rows of interconnected modules are in the sun and others in the shade, the electrical resistance in the shaded cells rises and can reach an even temperature of 100 Celsius, causing serious damage.

Microinverter solar panels can optimize each panel individually, making them the best option for shaded areas. Even in partially shaded conditions, this system preserves functionality and works well.

Partial shading of solar panels, if neglected, can turn out to be the deadliest nightmare for solar system owners, as it can reduce up to 40 percent of solar output.

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