Can You Install Solar Panels in a Shady Location?

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

If you’d like to install solar panels but are concerned about the amount of shade on your Utah property, we have good news. With today’s technology, it is now possible to generate photovoltaic power in shady locations.

Shade from trees, rooftop obstructions and nearby buildings does affect energy production, but it certainly won’t render your solar panels useless. And, with effective photovoltaic system design, shade shouldn’t be much of a problem at all.

How Shade Affects Solar Efficiency

Decades ago, shade was a definite barrier to photovoltaic power production. In those days, shade over a single solar cell significantly reduced the electricity output of an entire solar panel. And, since the non-shaded cells had to work harder to compensate for energy losses, overheating and premature panel failure were all too common.

Today, solar panels installed in the shade still produce less power than those in direct sunlight. However, some manufacturers have mitigated energy losses by equipping their panels with bypass diodes. These devices allow electricity to flow around shaded cells, which results in far fewer negative effects.

Strategies to Minimize the Effects of Shade

If you install solar panels in a shady location, you can expect your energy production to drop somewhat. However, for some Utah properties, keeping a photovoltaic system completely out of the shade is simply impossible. Fortunately, you lessen the impact on your electricity output in a number of ways:

  • Trim or relocate trees that cast shade on the rooftop

  • Consider a ground-mounted system instead of a rooftop installation

  • Use a string inverter with Maximum Power Point (MPP) tracking

  • Install a system with micro-inverters or power optimizers

Planning for Optimal Energy Production

If you want to maximize your energy production and see a faster return on your investment, it makes sense to install solar panels that perform well in the shade.

Photovoltaic experts often recommend SunPower panels for shady locations, as their design allows for more reliable energy production. When shaded, these panels may see a reduction in electricity output as little as 6 percent, while other brands may provide up to 33 percent less power.

In addition, strategic planning is essential. Every Utah property has unique considerations that can influence your photovoltaic component selection, system placement and panel layout. For that reason, working with a reputable, experienced local contractor is in your best interests.

Shade won’t stop the expert solar contractors at PRVL Energy from installing a high-performance photovoltaic system that provides the power you need. As a trusted SunPower Elite dealer, we use only the most efficient and reliable products on the market. And with our expertise, you can count on a customized installation that that’s well-suited for your Utah property.

PRVL Energy, a locally-owned and operated Utah renewable energy provider, makes it easy to install solar panels – in the shade or in the sun. For a complimentary consultation, contact us today.


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