There nothing better on a hot summers day than to sit under a large tree in the shade, unless of course, you happen to be a solar panel! Shade is part of the solar process as it comes from a variety of ways and some of which we have no control over. This raises the important question: "Can solar systems work effectively in shade situations?"
Tasmania is the land of the big trees and our backyard are often a testament to this fact. Many of us get to enjoy large backyards and this often means large trees as well. When looking at your roof as a powerplant it is best to have your larger trees away from your roof or at the very least trimmed so they don't obstruct your panels access to the sun.
Our own roofs can cause complications with shade from items such as chimneys, different roof angles and satellite dishes. Even poorly installed panels can produce shade on other panels.
Although clouds do block the suns rays they don't always stop solar production they just reduce the efficiency. You can still get sunburnt on a cloudy day, just ask any Tasmanian.
A solar inverter is what converts the power from the panel in the form of DC direct current to useable AC alternating current. It is essential that the right solar invertor is installed on your system to minimise efficiency losses from shaded panels if the shade is an issue at your property.
Currently, there are two types of inverters available on the market, and each deal with shade in different ways.
String inverters are the most basic and widespread inverter technology used throughout Australian homes. In a string inverter system, many panels are connected to the same inverter usually in a line or a string of panels. This means that the entire system can only operate at the power of the weakest panel. For example, if your neighbour's tree grows and casts a shadow across one or several of the panels, then the entire row of panels will only operate as efficiently as the shaded panel.
A microinverter system is when an inverter is installed for each solar panel ensuring that if one panel should fail through shading for example the rest of the string or panels will stay operational at peak efficiency.
Then we have Power optimizers which work with a single inverter.
Similar to micro-inverter systems, power optimizers can help negate the effect of a single panel being shaded on an entire system though they do work a little differently. Power optimizers at each panel at as a conditioner to the DC electricity that is generated at the panels and then sends it on to a simple string inverter.
At Tasmanian Energy Company we guarantee to give you a custom-designed system that is built around your needs and budget, a system tailored to your roof conditions and household. One of our expert team will come to your home or site, determine what your needs and tailor a system to suit your needs, budget environment.