Solar panels have revolutionised the future energy landscape, offering affordable and efficient alternatives for a greener future. While this reflects a positive shift in sustainable living, most people have concerns over the performance of solar panels in the shade.

In this article, we will answer questions like Do solar panels work in the shade by going through the science behind solar panel power generation and exploring the impact of shade on the efficiency of solar panels. Moreover, we will discuss the strategies to combat shading issues and ensure your system works optimally in these conditions.

 

The Science Behind Solar Power Generation

A solar panel generates power with the help of photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells have semiconductor materials, such as silicon. When the sunlight strikes your solar panels surface, these cells absorb photons from sunlight. This absorption energies electrons within the material, causing them to break free and create an electric current.

PV solar panels convert the absorbed photons into electrons of direct current, allowing them the direction to flow out of the solar system for external use, such as for powering electric devices or inverter storage.

But what happens when weather conditions like cloudy days or factors like trees and buildings hinder sunlight from reaching solar panels? Do solar panels work in the shade or not?

 

How can Shade Significantly Impact the Efficiency of Solar Panels?

Shade is one of the main elements that can affect the efficiency of solar panels. That’s because solar PV modules rely on sunlight for power generation. When shade occurs over PV cells due to high-rise buildings, trees, or even cloudy weather conditions, it hinders sunlight from reaching your solar panels. It affects the ability of panels to convert sunlight into energy, diminishing their electricity output. However, most solar panels work in shade, but their efficiency reduces depending on the degree of shading. For instance:

  • Partial Shade: The solar panels perform at peak efficiency, even during partial shading.
  • Complete Shade: In the case of complete shading, the performance of solar panels drops significantly.

So, the question arises, ‘Do solar panels work under trees?’ The answer is yes but with reduced efficiency. However, many modern solar panels come with devices known as bypass diodes that minimise the impact of partial shading by enabling electricity to flow around the shaded cells.

 

What are the ways to combat shading issues?

By implementing several strategies, you can ensure that your solar panels work in the shade. Such as:

 

1. Choose the Accredited Installer

Getting your solar panels installed by a certified solar installation company is crucial for the optimum performance of your Solar PV system. An accredited installer will thoroughly examine your property and use numerous mapping tools to avoid or minimise the chances of solar panels in the shade throughout the year. If there are any shading possibilities, they will design and recommend solar panel systems for maximum solar efficiency in such conditions.

 

2. Opt for Solar Inverters with MPPT Tracking

If you reside in a location with numerous trees or buildings nearby and are worried about shading issues, you can opt for solar inverters. High-quality inverters incorporate a feature known as Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT). This advanced technology enables the inverter to optimise energy extraction from solar panels, even under shaded conditions.

The MPPT Tracker dynamically adjusts the voltage to keep it within the inverter’s optimal input range. This way, it reduces energy loss that can occur when some solar panels are in shade or underperforming compared to others.

 

3. Consider Micro Inverters and Power Optimisers

If you can’t avoid the partial shading of solar panels on your roof, consider getting micro-inverters and power optimisers. These devices address the issue of shading on some parts of your solar PV system by eliminating the need for the traditional string connection.

With microinverters and power optimisers, each solar panel operates independently. So, even with some solar panels in the shade, the rest of the system produces energy effectively without much power loss.

 

4. Avoid and Remove the Obstacles

To save yourself from questions like Do solar panels work in the shade, consider eliminating and avoiding the elements that cause the chances of shading. For instance, if trees cause shading on the solar panels, trim them regularly.

Moreover, you can plan solar panel installation by choosing an area with minimal shading throughout the day. Also, you can avoid solar panels in the shade by positioning a part or whole solar panel system in a way that generates appropriate power, especially at the time when you use the most electricity.

 

5. Look for the best Solar Panel Solution

Choosing a high-quality solar panel with the right technology is crucial for maximum solar efficiency. Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline solar panels work in shade effectively. While monocrystalline delivers efficient performance in low-light conditions, Polycrystalline panels are cost-effective solutions with moderate performance in shaded conditions.

 

Conclusion

Shade is an inevitable aspect of the environment that can significantly impact solar panels’ efficiency. But by understanding the science behind solar energy generation and the effects of shade on it, we can employ strategies to mitigate these impacts.

We hope this article cleared your doubts over how solar panels perform in shaded conditions. For more queries on the performance of solar panels in the shade, feel free to reach us.