A single palm tree can spoil all the fun (string inverter)

My solar panel installation consist of 22 panels (2 rows of 11 panels). A single fast growing Mexican fan palm tree (Never planted by us, probably grew randomly from a seed!) in the front yard became large enough that during the winter months its small shade sweeps right across our solar array during the time where solar production should be highest. (Picture is actually from Google street view (Feb 2021), and clearly shows that at least one panel is completely in the shade)

As we all know, the problem with string inverters (in contrast to microinverters) is the fact that shading one panel of a string will take the entire array down! :frowning:

This morning we had the tree cut down! It’s only 2pm and we already have more than twice the solar production!

Look at the before/after (left panels, same vertical scales)! I expect that by the end of the day we will have almost tripled the production compared to every single sunny day of the last months! Look at the deep noon notch in the solar trace from a few days ago (lower right)

Yes, I generally like trees, but this one was sort of an eyesore and did not match the neighborhood anyway. The cost to cut it down was not much more than what we pay annually for trimming the fronds, so the payback is nearly instantaneous.

Since we recently switched to a full minisplit system, electricity production in winter is valuable. :smiley:

Without Sense, nobody would have ever noticed the problem!!


OK, the sun has now set. Here’s the comparison of today with the previous 6 days (orange is solar!)


Now solar production almost matches the typical consumption! (the two high values are unusual, washer&dryer running all day).

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A few more points for better statistics. In the last few days (December) it was foggy and cloudy, so production came down a bit (not shown). Still way better than with the tree in the way. :smiley:


Yes, it was a bit cold, so the minisplits were running more, raising the green bars). Total cost is still offset by the now much lower gas consumption (no furnace anymore).