Why PV Shade Loss is a Big Threat to your Business


By Clever Solar Devices staff • 8th of November • Reading Time: 2 mins

PV shade loss occurs whenever a cell or a PV module does not receive sunlight due to a shaded obstruction, and it significantly lowers the power generated by that solar section. The cause of obstruction can be any surrounding objects such as trees, buildings, antennas, other solar panels ( self-shading), the terrain (horizon shading), or module orientation (when dust or sand covers the surface of the solar panel).

According to Gil Masters, a professor at Stanford University, only 1 out of 36 cells of a PV module with a shade can decrease power generated by more than 75%.

Then, why does such a thing occur? The easiest way to understand it is to imagine a clog in a water pipe. A clog in a water pipe can restrict the flow of the entire water going through the pipe. In the case of a shaded cell, the current of the entire string is reduced, and the shaded cell will be the weak link of a module that significantly decreases the power availability of all the other cells. Thus, as other connected PV cells are also impacted, the overall power generation of a module can be hugely reduced. This is a serious matter for all the PV module owners, but especially firms or individuals that own or operate PV modules (or PV plants) for business, as the loss of power output signifies the financial loss.

One solution to such is Bypass Diodes. This is the method that allows the current to skip over shaded cells of a PV module. Yet, this is not a perfect solution, because this solution comes at expense of the lost power outputs of those cells that were skipped over. Those cells that were skipped over will not be included in the power generation anymore, so does no financial benefits created by those for the business.

Then, what are the better solutions? Here is when the latest technology plays a role. You can discover how Clever Dx diagnoses a full installation performance at the PV module level in real-time by simply contacting us: info@cleversd.com / +34 644 677 311