This week we are having the landscapers trim the trees to minimize the shading on our solar panel installation. Our neighbor is allowing us to trim the top of her tree as well. Our neighbor’s tree partially shades only one of our panels but because it is on a string inverter, it has the potential to decrease the efficiency of all the panels on that string. In our case, that is 11 of our 66 panels. That could potentially have a big impact on the amount of energy we are producing throughout the course of the year. I’m really excited to see how much of a difference it makes on the solar energy production of the modules that are affected.
When shading is an issue, using a solar module with a micro-inverter or enPhase inverter can make a difference. Each module is independent of the others so if it gets shaded or dirty, it does not affect the efficiency of any other module. We opted not to do this because of the minimal amount of shade and our environmentally conscious neighbor. Another benefit of enPhase is the ability to track your production and efficiency online.