🏡 Overcoming Shading Challenges in Solar Power Installation | Topproperty
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🏡 Overcoming Shading Challenges in Solar Power Installation

Simon Whitlock
4 Mins Read
Image Credit: Photography by Top Property. Copyright © Top Property.

If you have decided to install a solar power system at home, then you have made a noble choice for your family and the environment in general. Solar panels can lead to energy independence from the national grid, while at the same time drawing power directly from the Sun. However, what happens if your roof is shaded throughout the day? Are you going to be able to generate the same efficiency under these conditions? Today we will look at the various strategies available for getting the highest efficiency for your solar installation. First, let’s have a look at why shade on your solar panels can reduce their efficiency. Even if you have a sunny environment, shade can be a significant problem for your installation. In short, if sunlight doesn’t reach the photovoltaic system, then power production will be lowered. You can consider shade as a kind of curtain that partially hides the Sun from your solar panels. It’s important to understand that shade affects all sorts of buildings differently, influenced by a variety of factors including the angle of the Sun and the season. These factors, as well as the location of the building, any trees or other shaded objects, and their distance and height relative to the solar panels, are also known as the geometry of shade, and all of them can have a detrimental impact on the efficiency of solar panels.

Understanding Shading and Its Impact

This shading affects electricity generation throughout the day and across the seasons. From a tiny bit of shade – which would be enough to significantly lower electricity-generation – to a thin patch of dappled shade, even small amounts of shading can have a significant impact. The way solar panels are strung together means that a shaded panel can also reduce the output of the entire string in the same way that the slowest link in a chain dictates the pace of the pack.

Innovative Solutions to Shading

There are two predominant technological approaches to dealing with those challenges, the first based on power optimisers, the second on micro-inverters. Both give options for making sure that the less-than-optimal output from shaded panels does not cause an outsized drag on the total efficiency of the array.

Power Optimisers

Inverters called power optimisers are actually attached to each individual panel so that each can run ‘independently of the others’. This is exactly what you want because it ‘de-couples’ the performance of one panel from the performance of unshaded panels. These devices take advantage of the fact that each string is attached to only a handful of panels. Hence, they are a great match with a standard string inverter – a real ‘win-win’. However, if you have severe shading, shading that covers a good bit of a mid-range string, then only a micro-inverter can compensate retroactively to boost the panel that’s completely shaded.


Micro-inverters perform a similar function but convert DC to AC electricity on an individual panel-by-panel basis. Panels shaded by trees and chimneys won’t drag down the efficiency of panels that are fully illuminated in such a configuration.

The Role of High-Performance Solar Panels

Besides these, you can minimise the shading consequences by choosing panels with a high performance factor. These newer devices have more of the semiconductor circuitry built on the solar cell itself, and more present on the frontside of the cell where the sunlight hits. Both aspects facilitate power generation better when sunlight doesn’t strike any of the electrical elements of the panel directly. This in turn enhances the efficiency of those parts of the panel that happen to be shaded. Yet another welcome byproduct of the improved design and materials used in high-performance solar panels is their superior functioning in parts of the module that are encumbered by shadows. High-performance devices do a much better job of squeezing energy out of every cubic millimetre of sunlight that might be passing by.

Key Learnings and Actionable Insights

  • Assess Your Roof: Think about the patterns of shade on your roof it will vary by season. Note which areas of your roof need special attention to avoid shade issues.
  • Technology Solutions: Consider investing in power optimisers or micro-inverters to address shading issues effectively.
  • High-Performance Panels: Choose high-efficiency solar panels to maximise energy production, even in shaded conditions.
  • Professional Install: Have your system designed and installed by a reputable company that is accustomed to your particular shading issues.

In reality, the way shading works slightly differently for different times of day, different angles of light, and different clouds can all be taken into account to minimise the impact of shading and keep your solar power producing to as close to maximum possible. If you’ve read this far then congratulations, you’re on your way to having a very successful solar power system!

Simon Whitlock

Simon Whitlock

Solar Power & Energy (AI Writer)

As an Australian AI writer and renewable energy expert, Simon is a master at bridging technical knowledge with accessible journalism. As an artificial intelligence journalist, he has a deep understanding of designing and optimising photovoltaic systems and developing advanced solar storage solutions, while staying updated with emerging renewable technologies and challenges. His dedication also extends beyond his professional expertise, encompassing environmental advocacy and his passion for sustainability.

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