Shading & Solar Panels – Do Solar Panels Work In The Shade?

Solar power is the most reliable and cost-effective renewable energy source globally. People use solar power to get independent and eco-friendly energy solutions.

While using solar energy, consumers ask about the productivity of solar panels in the shade. Do solar panels work in the shade?

The question is important because productivity depends on sunlight, and you might think that solar panels require bright sunlight.

So, you have to consider the roof’s place, area, and position before installing solar panels. With different shades and impacts, the solar system will reduce energy production.

In this writing, we present the effects of the shade on solar panels and tips to increase solar panel efficiency when shading in your area.

ThePhoenixsun Video Series
ThePhoenixsun Video Series

Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight?

Solar panels produce maximum energy when getting direct sunlight. The panels can generate energy even on a cloudy day and under and during winter. So, solar panels don’t need direct sunlight. But, you won’t get energy if you install it indoors.

Solar panels are designed with photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. So, when the sunlight is projected on the solar panel’s surface, it automatically generates electricity.

Here, direct sunlight means the light of the sun, not a hot summer and sunny day. Bright sunlight will enhance productivity and give you maximum power from the solar system. So, don’t worry about the winter and clouds.

How Does The Shade Affect Solar Panels?

Do Solar Panels Work in the shade?
Do Solar Panels Work In The Shade?

The shade affects only the energy production of solar panels. It can not affect the solar panel’s physical structure and body material.

Photovoltaic cells produce electrical currents and convert them to direct current (DC) when getting sunlight. This energy conversion rate depends on the brightness of the sunlight.

For example, a 100-watt solar panel produces 250-watt energy per day under bright sunlight. If you have shading issues on your solar panel, the panel will generate less energy. It is stuck around 150-180 watts in a small shade issue, and the production will be reduced to 100 watts under heavy shade. It will reduce 40 percent of the production rate.

What Kind Of Shade Should You Be Aware Of?

Below are some examples of shade sources:

  • Buildings and Roofing.
  • Presence of other Solar Panels.
  • Cloudy Environment.
  • Trees.

Different kinds of shades can affect the efficiency of solar panels, and shading is a crucial issue while using solar energy. This outdoor unit of a solar system depends on sunlight.

So, you should think about the shades type and position of the solar panels to get maximum solar energy.

Buildings and Roofing 

Solar panels can be affected by the shade of buildings and roofing if you live in a densely populated area. It happens because of the high-rise buildings that block the sun and prevent sunlight prosecution on the solar panels.

To get an effective solution to this shading issue, you have to select an open space, whether it is on the roof or ground.

Ensure that your solar panel surface gets sufficient sunlight from the morning to the afternoon. Fix the position and angle depending on where you are installing the solar panel.

Presence of other Solar Panels

Sometimes, solar panels are installed on a shared roof or mounted in the ground in a series. It happens when you use lots of solar panels from the same area.

This arrangement can create shading for each other. The panels from the east will create shade in the morning, and the panels from the west will create shade in the afternoon.

So, you have to do it professionally to understand the shading issue from an individual solar panel. Don’t just install solar panels according to your wish.

Make sure that each solar panel gets proper sunlight for generating energy.

Cloudy Environment

A cloudy environment is the natural shading source that can affect the solar panel’s efficiency. If you live in an area with hazardous weather, you might face this issue in the rainy season and winter.

hazardous weather causes low solar effectiveness

In the rainy season, clouds create shade, and the snow will block sunlight in the winter.

You can not avoid this kind of shading because you don’t have anything to do with weather-changing problems.

It is better to add a powerful battery to store power for further use. You can store the extra energy from a hot summer day.


tree shades cause low solar power efficiency

If you have trees beside the area of the solar panels, it will create shades that reduce the solar system’s energy production.

You have to install the solar panel in an open place to keep the solar panel productive. Besides, the tree leaves and branches can be dangerous for solar panels installed under trees.

During the summer, trees will block sunlight and create shade. In the same way, trees will be dangerous in dangerous weather.

Impacts Caused By The Shade To Solar Panels

Decrease Efficiency

Under the shade, the solar panel efficiency will be reduced, and the solar system can not get sufficient energy.

In general, you will get half the energy from the system. That will put a negative emphasis on energy production.

This effect will directly hit your device and appliances’ user experience. You can not run all the devices from the solar system simultaneously. To avoid this situation, try to install a solar panel in a place where it will get bright sunlight.

Shorten Lifespan

A solar panel under shade can not get sufficient sunlight for energy production. It will reduce the electrical movement of the solar cells.

This process is harmful to the solar panel because it will shorten its life. When the panel gets excessive sunlight for a certain time, it can produce huge energy and work based on its efficiency. But, an uncertain energy conversion rate can reduce the panel’s efficiency.

Besides, overperformance can burn the solar panel for extreme shade issues.

Cost You More

If you have a grid-tied solar system and a shading issue with solar panels, it will increase costs. You won’t get maximum energy, and you have to pay more to the electricity company.

Similarly, the system can not generate the extra energy you provide to the grid. So, your expenses will be increased at the end of the month.

Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight to Perform Better?

Many people always wonder whether a solar panel needs direct sunlight to perform better and economically.

The answer is yes.

Most solar panels need and require 100% direct sunlight to perform to their limit.

When the panel receives direct sun, that means that all the cells have gotten enough energy to perform for long.

Although solar panels can still be useful during cloudy conditions, they can still get light even though it is not enough. It has been found that solar panels work at 40% during cloudy conditions compared to sunny days.

When it comes to the grid-tied solar panels, they usually have a net meter device in them.

The device provides feedback to the grind that provides energy credits in exchange.

During sunny days, the grind solar panel typically receives a lot of heat.

The heat gathered during the sunny days is always converted into energy credits, which will keep the panel running during the cloudy days.

Peak sun hours are the hours during the sunny days where the solar panel is maximum when it comes to receiving energy.

It is usually at 1000 watts per square meter.

Peak sun hours are between 3 to 4 hours a day, which means your panel is most active during those hours.

3 Tips Improve Solar Panels Efficiency When There Are Shading In Your Location

3 Tips Improve Solar Panels Efficiency When There Are Shading

You can keep the solar panel efficient when getting shades on the solar panel surface. Here, we present the 3 most effective tips to improve solar panel efficiency if you have shading in your location. 

String Arrangement

String inverter helps to arrange the solar panel in a parallel series to enhance the productivity of the solar panel. The inverter brings the power from different solar panels and provides the same voltage and output.

The system brings shaded and unshaded panels together to maintain the power production of the solar panel. The module understands which panel produces less energy and specifies the panel to increase its electricity conversion rate.

Install a DC Optimizer

A DC optimizer will help the panel increase power output and maintain the energy production rate of each solar panel. It will boost the output current of the solar panels with less sunlight and enhance the performance of the shaded solar panels.

The system ensures that the same output comes from all the solar panels. It is an effective and proven way to keep your solar panel productive during the shade.

Mount Panels on Ground

Ground mounting is the best solution to avoid shade and arrange the solar panel in the best way. It will help you to install the solar panel south facing. The panel will get more sunlight and produce maximum energy in this position.

The panels will also get better ground clearing that enhances the performance in any weather condition.

Wrapping Up

Finally, we can say that shade is not a good sign for solar panels. It will reduce productivity and make the solar system costlier.

When installing a solar panel on the rooftop or ground, you need to consider this issue. Mounting options will help you to collect maximum sunlight for solar panels. Maximum sunlight means maximum power.

When getting less energy due to shade, you have to find the shade type and select the most effective solution for that problem.

Don’t just install and remove solar panels without specifying the problem and productivity of the solar panel. It will enhance the cost and reduce the energy production rate.