Is Your House Right for Solar?

This is the most common question we receive from prospective customers. The last thing we want to do is put up a solar array on someone’s house that is inefficient. I’m sure you’re guessing what inefficient means.

Let’s start off and talk about who would not be a good candidate. A really good example comes to mind. There is a house in my community that has a good-sized solar system. It always makes me happy to see solar panels on a roof so I make sure to look at the house every single time I drive by. Lately, it’s been making me cringe because I noticed that at least one-third to two-thirds of the solar panels are covered by a dark shadow created by the tall trees in their yard and their chimney. I have driven by this house at all times of the day so I know there is not any part of the day when there are no obstructions. I would take a picture and post it on the blog, but I don’t want to embarrass the homeowner. It’s most likely not their fault; their PV designer took them for a ride.

Shading can dramatically cut the production of electricity because the solar cell with the least illumination dictates the operating current for all the cells wired in that series. People in the solar industry relate partial shading to kinking in a garden hose. The narrowed opening allows a smaller portion of water through. Similarly, shading can create a disproportionate decline in electricity production.