Having a solar power system can be very useful as it works well as a way to save costs from electricity and it makes a good alternative. By absorbing light, the solar panel system can supply electricity which can be used normally as regular electricity would. Although useful, one of the downsides is if you have shading. Shadows casting on the solar panels or blocking sunlight at times can have a large impact on the system and it should be taken care of right away to avoid any problems with the system as well as any unwanted outages when using the system.

How Do Solar Power Systems Work

Solar power systems work by catching sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity which is later on is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by the inverter. Basically the main parts are the inverter and the solar panels. In order to function the solar panels must have access to sunlight to be able to convert and store it to supply electricity.

How Can Shading Affect Solar Power Systems

Solar arrays are mostly divided into different ‘strings’ of solar panels. The bigger the system, the more strings it has. These strings are connected and electricity flows from them and can be visualised similar to how a pipe and water would work such as the strings being a pipe while the water flowing is the electricity. That is how they may be visualised however in this instance it is actually electricity flowing through the strings.

Depending on the system you are using, electricity can sometimes still be stored if there are bypass diodes which reduce the effects of partial shading which work in a way to allow electricity to flow past the shaded cells. In some cases, and most systems, shading may cause lower or no output at all even if one cell is blocked as they all need to be gathering sunlight. Most of the modern systems have a bypass for this but no matter how you put it, the more shade there is, the less electricity output there will be.

If you want your solar power system to work properly and efficiently, you need to make sure there is an uninterrupted flow of sunlight when available and make sure that nothing is blocking the sunlight from hitting the solar panels. During the period of when the panel is shaded by either something blocking the sun or a shadow shading it, there will be little or no produced electricity depending how long the sunlight is blocked.

Shading impact can also be significant if you’re running single panel systems. With critical systems such as solar sump pumps being used more often due to the low cost and ease of installation, incorrect placement or seasonal sunlight shifts could mean the difference between a functioning water removal system.

What Can Be Done To Avoid Shading

When you plan on installing a solar power system, be sure to analyse the area where you intend to place the panels. This can easily be done by looking at the shadows that change during the day or seeing the objects that can block or cause any shading. It can be hard to do this as you won’t want to spend the whole day staring at a shadow. What you can do is hire someone to install the system for you that is a professional so they can calculate all the necessary measurements that will affect the placements. Lyndsay from Greenbuild Energy Solutions note’s that any professional quotation should be completed in person and not solely from online satellite imagery, as an in-person quote will be able to factor in future tree growth or other objects which could disrupt the sunlight on your solar array.

If you intend on setting up the system yourself, you may simply use a device to record the day for you to review later on or place marking every hour to see where the shades hit to later on figure out where is the best place to install the panels. It is better to place the solar panels on high areas such as the roof of a building or an open area, not just to avoid shading but theft as well.

If you have a portable solar setup (for example which are now becoming popular with camper van setups), ensure you park your vehicle in a location which will get the maximum amount of light coverage.

What To Do If Solar Panels Are Shaded

If your solar panels are installed already but affected by shading, then it would be wise to either move them if possible and if the installation of the solar panels is not finalised. If you are unable to move the panels then you can start by changing your inverter to one that has MPP (Maximum Power Point) Tracking capability. This will allow the solar panels to acquire as much as possible regardless of shade or other various conditions.


When setting up your solar panels be sure that they can acquire as much sunlight as possible, by ensuring this, it is guaranteed that you will have more electricity than shaded solar panels get. Be sure to check before you place your solar panels to make sure they won’t get shaded, in the events of shading it may be necessary to either change or configure your system unless you can get rid of or move whatever is causing the shade. The placement of your solar panels and the environment around them should be analyzed properly to avoid any problems with your solar panel system and to make sure you get the most out of it.