Solar Panels generate electricity by using sunlight. Therefore, power generation highly depends on the amount of sunlight they receive. Consequently, it makes sense that when a shadow falls on a solar panel, whether by a tree or nearby building can dramatically decrease the amount of electricity your solar system generates, even on sunny days.
Even a tiny shadow on any part of the solar panel system can substantially reduce the productivity of the whole. Unfortunately, most solar panel manufacturing companies are not aware of it, and as a result, they face problems after the installation.
How Does Shade Affect Solar Panels?
The solar panel is composed of solar cells, depending on the size of your solar panel. These cells are connected inside the solar panel, and if something happens to any of the cells, it could potentially affect the efficiency of the entire solar panel system. Therefore, the effect of shadow on solar panel productivity depends on where the shadow falls on the solar panel.
Solar panels are divided into three different sectors. Each sector comprises one-third of the solar panel’s cells and has its bypass diode. If a shadow falls on any part of these sections, it will impact the productivity of all the cells. However, if the remaining two sectors are free from the shadow, they will generate electricity.
Similarly, one-third of the solar panel will generate electricity if two sectors are all or partially shaded. However, the solar panel will produce little or no electricity if the shade is spread into cells in all three sections.
How To Prevent Solar Panels From Shadowing Impact?
The most substantial negative impact on power generation with solar panels is shade. Even though only a minimal amount of your solar array is in the shade, it impacts the productivity of your entire solar panel system. Therefore, it requires some additional design work to keep the effect of shadow on your solar panel system to a minimum.
Bypass diodes are devices within a solar module that allow the current to “pass over” shaded areas. By utilizing bypass diodes, the highest current from the unshaded series of cells can flow around the shaded string of cells. Nowadays, many best solar panel companies are providing bypass diodes for solar panels. Thus, if one panel gets shaded, it will not impact the performance of the whole array.
By using bypass diodes for each solar panel cell, the power output from the solar panels will not drop at zero simply because of one shaded cell. So here, the shaded cells are bypassed and not allowed to impact the entire solar panel production.
Inverters are another vital element of a solar panel system. They convert the DC power generated by your solar panels into AC power that you can use in your home, work, or building. String inverters are the most reasonable and frequently installed inverters by many solar panel manufacturing companies.
With a string inverter, multiple solar panels are connected to one inverter. These groups of solar panels are known as strings. Depending on the size of your solar panel system, you may have multiple inverters and multiple strings. All the solar panels in a string can generate more electricity than the solar panel, which produces the least electricity.
That means if you have one partially shaded solar panel, all the other solar panels in that string can generate as much power as the shaded panel, irrespective of how much sunlight they receive. As a result, string inverters are less effective for solar panel systems installed in a partially shaded area.
On the other hand, Microinverters allow you to produce products at the panel level. It is installed on the underside of each solar panel rather than one string inverter with multiple solar panels connected. This allows each solar panel to generate electricity independently of shadows from other solar panels.
Thus, a partially shaded solar panel does not restrict the production of other solar panels under sunlight. Therefore, microinverters can be a good choice for installing solar panels in partially shady areas. However, while they will help increase the power of your solar system, they usually cost more than string inverters.
Power Optimizers with String Inverter
Power optimizers aren’t precisely an inverter. Alternatively, they are added to systems with string inverters. Instead, optimizers provide panel-level optimization, like microinverters. This means that if the solar panel is partially shaded, it will not affect the performance of other solar panels.
A solar panel system that utilizes power optimizers and a string inverter are typically more reasonable than a system that uses microinverters. However, it will be more expensive than a string inverter.
The best way to determine if your area is too shaded for solar is to contact reputable solar manufacturers such as Insolation Energy – the largest solar panel manufacturer in India. The best solar panel company will customize your solar panel system by considering your house and its surroundings. Then, with proper shadow analysis, they can design and recommend the best solar panels in India that can work efficiently and minimize the shadow effect.