Should Trees and Foliage be Considered Before Installing Solar?

June 13, 2017

Think of your roof as being a big wallet from which you can pull money to help to pay for your energy bills. The larger the roof and the more sun exposure it gets, the deeper the pocket of the wallet, and hence the more money available to offset expensive utility bills. Because solar PV panels work best when they operate in direct sunlight, it might make sense to think about your trees and foliage before planning a solar panel array. If there are trees providing all-day shade to your roof, does it make sense to prune them or keep them trimmed back, so that your solar system works in the most efficient way possible?


The short answer is yes. This is basic physics: the more direct sunlight that can hit a PV panel, the better. However, tree pruning and removal services are very expensive. This is largely because of the insurance that tree service companies need to carry in order to do their jobs. It may not be feasible to pay to have your roof completely cleared of tree shade, so it’s probably best to work directly with your installer to go over any shade issues before getting started with installation. Besides, unless trees and shrubbery are completely removed, they’re going to eventually grow back most of what is cut off.


A more sensible approach would be to design a solar panel array that maximizes the direct sunlight that your roof is already being subjected to on a daily basis. This would involve taking into account all of the ‘hot zones’ of your roof, identifying the most ideal candidate spaces for panel installation locations. Another alternative – and this is a great solution for roofs that are perpetually shaded – is to have a solar panel array mounted on a stand-alone rack placed elsewhere on the property. This stand-alone rack can be tied into the power system and the entire power scenario can be managed just as easily as rooftop-mounted systems.


If you have questions about your property and how well suited it is for solar, don’t risk the success of your new solar panel system by not working with qualified professionals. Urban Solar takes on even your most difficult questions about solar power, from design and installation to quotes and ongoing maintenance. Give us a call today and ask about our completely free energy assessment – we will go over all of your options and even advise you on subjects like shade mitigation and panel placement. Contact us today; we look forward to hearing from you!