How shading can affect your Gold Coast solar panel system
There is no doubt shading can decrease the efficiency of your Gold Coast solar panel installation, but with the right tips, you can prevent it from happening.
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If you’ve invested in a new solar panel system, you’re probably feeling pretty happy with yourself. You’re helping the environment, saving money on your energy bills, and you’re basically a modern-day superhero.
But what happens when the sun stops shining? Or, more specifically, when something casts a shadow on your panels and ruins your perfect energy output? Well, that’s where shading comes in. And trust us, it’s not pretty.
What is Solar Panel Shading?
So, what exactly is shading, and why is it such a problem for solar panel systems?
Essentially, shading is when anything (a tree, a building, a cloud, dust, bird droppings) blocks the sun’s rays from reaching your solar panels. And when your panels don’t get enough sunlight, they can’t produce as much energy as they’re supposed to. It’s like trying to bake a cake without an oven – it’s just not going to work.
How does shading affect your solar panel performance?
Here’s the really annoying part: solar panels are wired together in a series of ‘strings’. This means that if one panel in the string is shaded, all the panels in that same string will also lose power. It’s like a domino effect, and it can cause up to a whopping 40% loss of energy generated by your solar panels. Yikes!
How to avoid shade affecting your solar panels’ performance
Luckily, there are a few sneaky strategies that can help you avoid or minimise the effects of shading on your solar panel system. Here are our top tips:
Tip 1: Location, Location, Location
The first and most obvious step to avoiding shading is to make sure you install your solar panels in a spot where they won’t be blocked by anything.
This might sound simple, but it can actually be trickier than it seems. You need to think about the position of the sun at different times of day, during different seasons, and from different angles.
A professional solar installation consultant should be able to help you figure out if shading will be an issue using their digital mapping tools. If you’d like to speak with a solar expert, book a free in-home consultation and quote with one of our friendly team members.
It’s also important to keep an eye on any nearby trees that could grow taller, or properties that could be built, both of which will start casting shadows on your panels over time. Solar panels are designed to last for over 25 years, so it’s important to plan ahead.
Tip 2: Get Smart with Inverters
If shading is unavoidable, you can still minimise its effects by using a string inverter with Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) capability.
Basically, this fancy technology adjusts the voltage of your solar panels to suit the inverter’s preferred input range, even when some panels are shaded. This helps to squeeze as much usable energy as possible out of your panels and minimise losses.
Alternatively, you can opt for microinverters or power optimisers, which allow every solar panel in your system to operate independently. This means that shading on one panel won’t affect the energy output of the whole system.
These technologies can be a bit pricier than a standard string inverter, but they’re worth it if shading is a major issue for your setup.
Get the most from your solar panel system
Shading can be a real headache for solar panel system owners but there are ways to mitigate its impact. By taking proactive steps to avoid shading and investing in technologies such as MPP tracking and microinverters, you can ensure that your solar panel system is running at maximum efficiency.
It’s important to remember that solar energy is a long-term investment, and while it may require an initial financial outlay, the long-term benefits are well worth it. Not only can you save money on your energy bills, but you’ll also be doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the environment.
Choose the right Gold Coast Solar Installer
So if you’re considering installing a solar panel system, take shading into account and choose a Gold Coast solar installer who can help you avoid these issues. And if you already have a solar panel system, don’t despair – there are still plenty of options available to help you maximise your energy output.