How do Trees and Shading Affect Solar Panel Power Production

Do you have trees or other buildings causing shading on your roof? Read on to find out how we design the perfect system to maximize production despite shading!

The most important design consideration when looking at solar for homes or business is a thorough and proper shading analysis. The reason this is so critical is because improper shading analysis can cause drastic production variances. This is not a desired outcome and leads to unhappy customers and gives the industry a bad name. A good local reputable installer will have several different shading analysis done if your property has even the slightest possibility of shading due to trees. 8MSolar design engineers have a two-step verification method for all properties that have the slightest amount of shade. This analysis is especially critical because the entire financial payback of a solar PV system is based on real world production numbers. If the production estimates are incorrect, the feasibility of the entire project is in question. 8MSolar takes extreme care to ensure we account for every possible shading variation and generate realistic and accurate production figures.

If you feel your home has a lot of trees and that they might affect production, just reach out to one of our design professionals and we will be happy to guide you further. Contact us today at 919-367-1831!

HelioScope Shading Analysis

 Helioscope is an amazing tool that allows us to accurately map the exact characteristics of a solar installation accurately and with excellent results. We use this tool to input your exact home characteristics including the roof height, roof pitch, array azimuth, array shape on the roof, inter-row shading, equipment technical specifications and efficiencies. We also use local weather patterns over the past 10 years to accurately gauge production for the future. A properly designed Helioscope shading report is invaluable and gives us excellent results that we can show to our customers. A thorough shading analysis helps us determine the feasibility of solar PV projects when there is shading involved.

Solar Pathfinder Shading Analysis

Following the first analysis, an in person solar pathfinder analysis is performed. A pathfinder analysis looks at the exact shading profile. Our field technicians perform pathfinder analysis on all roof surfaces that will have solar installed on them. A solar pathfinder looks at the shading profile of all trees or other shade causing objects and generates a trace of the shading objects on each roof surface. This is fed into a proprietary software along with all other system details such as array type, quantity of solar panels, type of inverter and equipment efficiencies and a production estimate is then generated. This solar production estimate is extremely accurate and is the final authority on production from a given roof. If our initial Helioscope estimates and the Pathfinder estimates lineup, we know we have done our work properly and we commence with detailed system design and engineering.

Aurora Solar Lidar Data-Based Shade Analysis

After installing hundreds of solar panel systems, we have found that the most accurate method to analyse shading is now Aurora Solar. Aurora Solar provides real world LIDAR (radar) data to provide the height, foliage depth and shape of trees and structures that can cause shade. 

Once shade causing items are properly modeled, we can accurately determine how much impact will be seen on solar kWh production. In the example above, shading due to the trees at the south east side of the Church will cause around 5.6% estimated power loss.

Finalizing the Design

Once all the different parameters and shade causing objects on your roof have been identified and a site analysis completed, our experts will carefully design a Solar PV array that minimizes the effects of shading. Feel free to call us today at 919-367-1831 to see how we can help you maximize your solar power production potential.

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