Trim trees that shade your solar panels

Why? Shade from tree branches can significantly decrease your solar energy production.
Things to think about:
  • If there are tree branches hanging over your solar panels, it's a good idea to get them trimmed.
  • You may be able to trim some branches on your own, but some trimming jobs are best handled by professional landscapers.
  • In general, it does not make sense to cut down an entire tree in order to increase solar productivity. 
  • In addition to creating shade, tree branches can fall on your solar panels during storms, which could damage your panels.

Good to know: 
There are three main types of solar inverters, and shade affects them differently. 

  • A string inverter system is made up of many panels connected to the same inverter. If a tree branch is shading one panel, all the panels will work only as efficiently as the shaded panel. Trimming will have the biggest impact if you have this type of inverter, but trimming branches is recommended for all types of inverters.
  • Microinverters have an inverter for each individual solar panel. If one panel is shaded, the rest of the panels will still work well.
  • A power optimizer is a combination of a string inverter and a microinverter. Power optimizers are similar to microinverters in that a tree branch will negatively impact the solar energy production of only the shaded panel.

Go the extra mile: If you do end up having to trim a tree, you can plant a new tree in a part of the yard that is far enough away from your house that it won't become a problem for your solar panels in the future.

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