Up Your DIY Solar Output by Clearing Away Obstacles Posted on 18 Feb 10:43
When starting your DIY solar project, the first thing you should do is clear away any obstacles in order to increase your output.
But, you may ask, what obstacles need to be cleared, and are any obstructions acceptable? If you can’t move an obstacle, like a building, how will it impact your solar output?
Why Obstacles Matter
Any photovoltaic panel, no matter what the manufacturer advertises, loses output in the shade, even if the shading is only partial.
If you have crystalline panels, the cells are effectively turned off when fully in the shade. So, if a portion of any panel’s cells is shaded, it will reduce the output of that panel. That may not sound so terrible, but it can cause overheating some cells.
This happens when unshaded cells attempt to force current through a high-resistance cell ― which is basically what a cell will turn into when shaded.
Watch Out For That Tree!
Arguably, the most common obstacles do-it-yourselfers encounter are trees.
You may think the easy solution is to just cut the tree down, but what if the tree is not on your property, or you live in a community with an HOA? This is referred to as a “solar access” problem.
In some states, you may have the law on your side. California, for example, has laws that restrict new plant and tree growth from blocking solar panels.
However, it could come down to a court dispute that will be decided, more than likely, on what came first: the tree or the solar panel?
If it’s an HOA issue, then you must contact the association to find out what your options are under the association’s rules.
The good news is that it’s not always necessary to cut down an entire tree.
Often, some branches can be cut to expose your solar panel to more sunlight at peak hours. The harsh reality is, however, that the net benefits of cutting a tree down to increase the output of your solar panels are usually quite significant.
Buildings, Mountains and Other Immovable Objects
But what if a building of some sort — or even a beautiful mountain — prevents the sun’s light from reaching your roof? All is not lost, but you may want to consider a ground-mounted array instead. But what, you might ask, if someone builds a tall house next door some day?
Installing solar panels is a significant investment, so you may want to look into the something called the “solar easement law” in your area, to ensure your future in the sun.
This basically means that, when you install an array of solar panels, an easement can be attached to the deed of properties adjacent to yours that will protect your right to future sunlight. This way, even if a building hasn’t been built yet, you and your solar panels are protected.
When designing your PV system, don’t hesitate to get creative, to ensure that the maximum amount of sunlight reaches your panels each day. Your budget will thank you for it for decades to come.
Visit the Solar GOODs online superstore today, for all of the parts and accessories you’ll need to design and install your own DIY solar project.