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What to Do When Shade Blocks Your Panels

Ashleigh AngellSeptember 28, 20187720

What to Do When Shade Blocks Your Panels

Solar shading is something a lot of people don’t like talking about. This is because many people only deal with it years after installation, far past the point where many solar companies want to deal with it. Sometimes, solar shading gets so bad that panels end up failing completely far before their life cycles end. In even more extreme cases, hot spots end up causing fires. Unfortunately, there is no way to have solar shading and improve a solar system’s output. The good news, however, is that there are technology solutions that can help so you’ll still get your return on investment (ROI). Even more important than that is decreasing the number of people who install panel mismatches, which also aid in decreasing the life cycle of a solar panel.

What exactly is solar panel shading?

Solar shading is when a significant enough amount of shade is covering a solar panel to turn it from a generator to a load, meaning that instead of providing an output of power to your home, it does nothing but devour power. In other words, a shaded panel is stealing power from the other panels, which in turn drags down the entire system’s output.

Will a bypass diode help?

Solar panels are furnished with ‘bypass diodes,’ which are mechanisms that make sure that power can only circulate in one direction. Without these mechanisms, solar panels covered by shade would attract the entire current of the string and lose it as heat in the shaded area. This would cause hot spots, and then, a fire. When a bypass diode is attached, the shaded panels are detached from the output equation and the string runs more efficiently. Bypass diodes are a very uncomplicated circuit with very low precision. They usually run on a threshold of around 20-30% and are directed more towards ensuring safety than they are at any aim to increase system efficiency.

What are String Systems?

A conventional solar system contains a string inverter and one or more strings. These threads are highly vulnerable to mismatch problems between panels, which happens due to manufacturer tolerances and solar shading. Because of this, a string system must be drafted out with cautious intent to make sure that no shading occurs. Often, it is better to have fewer panels than it is to have a system which is partially shaded.

Solar Shading Solutions

The PV industry has advanced a lot since the creation of the string inverter. We can compare them to steam engines, which work, but have a lot of restrictions and are susceptible to failure. It is because of this that two contemporary methods have come about. One technique is to attach module-level electronics that cultivate the output of each panel and hinder mismatch problems.

The second method is to take the string inverter and dwindle it down to a micro inverter. Microinverters are now quite common and permit all kinds of high-level tasks beyond shade and mismatch tolerance, such as design liberty and high-level logging. If youre looking for a new way to install, then microinverters may be the best solution for you.

Solving Existing Shading Problems

If your system is already stationed, Tigo is the best solution. They cost about $100 per panel, a and can be retrofitted onto the back of your solar systems, therefore ensuring that your shading and mismatch issues are defeated. If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to refit the entire system. Your installer can just clip optimizers onto the back of the shaded panels and be done super quickly.

However you decide to deal with your shading issues, keep in mind that it’s also a great idea to look around at any baby trees you have in your area before installing them and remember that the panels will last decades, so by the time the trees around are ten years old, they might cause severe shading.

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