Solar energy is a great source that offers free energy year round. However, the power production of a solar panel can be greatly affected by shading. It is best for each location to be analyzed for optimum sun exposure. SEPCO specializes in stand-alone battery powered systems that operate our solar lighting for parking lots installations. Our systems are designed for a specific amount of power for each night. Therefore, it is important to be able to calculate exactly how much energy the system is producing as there is no back up power from the electrical grid when shading occurs.
With each project installation, you need to make sure that the installation is free of trees, power lines, building structures and other obstructions to the solar panel. The solar module has electricity that runs through each cell of the module, so just a tiny bit of shading on a module could decline the power production by as much as 40%. There are new technologies that increase the power on the modules or bypass the shaded cells, etc. There are also programs that can complete a shade analysis for the exact locations.
Most of our designs for North America the solar modules will have a degree of tilt to the south. Keep in mind that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but that the north and south locations will fluctuate during different seasons on the panel as well. Also note that sometimes a tree line will actually spread out different heights when the sun hits it at different angles.
Solar modules that have wind turbines, cameras or additional solar modules mounted directly above the panels will prove to be problematic for panel power production. If your parking lot is a good application for solar power, but there are some trees, make sure to let your solar specialist know by providing an address, site information and details about the height and type of tree so that we can suggest what can be done to verify your systems will not be shaded.
In lighting for parking lots or roadways with shade concerns, SEPCO can design a small distribution site of solar in the distance or outside of the tree line, or provide a panel separated from the light pole for single tree issues and we can also design taller poles and lower fixtures to get the solar panels above the tree lines. We can sometimes overdesign a system to accommodate the power losses and we incorporate technically advanced electronics to lower the standard loses that are experienced from shaded modules.
If your parking lot would be a great fit for solar power, but you are concerned with the shading, please contact a solar lighting specialist to see if we have a solution to your shading so that you too can benefit from free clean energy of the sun.