efficiency of solar in shade

Does solar work in the shade?

Does solar work in the shade?

People around the globe are shifting towards renewable sources of energy to meet their power needs. While solar power is a cost-efficient and effective way to meet the world’s power requirements, the important factor to consider is whether solar panels can really make sense in the areas of shade.

Do solar panel works in shade? Yes, Solar panels can work in shaded areas as well as during cloudy days but their output power capacity is compromised due to less exposure to sunlight. Certain solutions like solar panel design and roof orientation can help prevent an excessive power loss caused due to less sunlight exposure.

People generally assume that solar panels are of no use unless exposed to bright sunlight. However, this is a misconception and modern solar panels are capable enough to work even in poor light conditions. Still, there is a need to analyze the effect of shade on the solar panel as well as how you can minimize it and what sort of panel design is right for fulfilling your power needs given the shading conditions of your location. In this article, we will examine the sources of shading, its effects on the efficiency of the solar panel and how the efficiency losses can be mitigated.

What causes shading and does it affect solar panels?

As discussed above, shading plays a very crucial part in the efficiency of the solar panels. There are different sources that can be a cause of shade on solar panels. The most common sources are listed below:

  1. Trees – Many residential areas that are located in green spaces face shading issues. The trees near the solar panel setups can cause shading issues by encroaching the setups.
  2. Clouds – Weather plays a very important factor in determining the amount of sunlight reaching the solar panels. Clouds do not completely block the sunlight but they do reduce the amount of sunlight exposure on to the panel which reduces the amount of solar energy harvested to electricity
  3. Other Panels – Solar panels can also be shaded by neighboring panels especially when there are ground installations. If incorrectly installed, nearby panels can caste a shade on the panels in the same system.
  4. Roof and Buildings – Panels are greatly affected by the roofs and surrounding buildings if the system is located in an overly populated area. Based on the peak hours of the day, surrounding buildings and roofs can block sunlight to the panels

Now that we have looked at the sources of shading lets discuss the impact it has on the solar panels.

Decrease in Efficiency-A solar panel consists of the solar cells. Those solar cells which are covered in shade will stop working so if 50% of the panel’s solar cells are under shade, then solar panel’s efficiency will be reduced to half but shading does not completely halt the electricity production. Most of the modern solar panels can work even in poor light conditions but at the expense of efficiency. The power loss varies based on the amount of shade the panels are facing.

If you cannot avoid shade, then the best option is to use the shade tolerant solar cells like Uni-solar etc.

Shortens life span –When some of the solar cells in a solar panel are not working due to shading then other cells free of shade work harder in order to compensate the power losses. In this process, the unshaded solar cells might get overheated or burn out due to over performing. This reduces the lifetime of the solar panel and can result in permanent damage to the PV system. Bypass diodes can be used to minimize the effect of partial shading on the solar panel.

Do solar panels need direct sunlight to make sense?

A lot of people wonder whether direct sunlight is needed for solar to make it a feasible option economically or not. Yes, indeed, the more sun exposure there is, then more output gets generated from the panels. It is true that direct sunlight provides optimum conditions for the panel to operate however even in the cloudy weather, some of the light may still reach your solar panels to make them work.

It is estimated that a solar panel will be 40% less effective during cloudy weather conditions.

In a grid-tied solar panel, the excess amount of power generated during a sunny day, gets fed back to the utility grid in exchange of energy credits. This is done via a device known as a net meter which measures the electricity going to and from the grid. The energy credits can be utilized to draw power at night and on a cloudy day.

The term “Peak sun hours” refers to hours during which the intensity of sunlight is maximum, i.e., 1,000 watts per square meter. Peak sun hours provide an accurate description of how much energy your panels can produce in a day.

On average, the peak sun hours are between 3 to 4 hours a day.

How do you calculate how many sun-hours an area gets?

Solar map tools can be used to estimate the average amount of sun hours of a location however it only gives you the estimate based on longitude and latitude coordinates of a location. In order to get an accurate reading many other factors about a location should be taken into consideration before drawing any conclusions.

Some software tools like Aurora can use the satellite imagery of a location and estimate the sun hours based off that information alone. But these tools are not always 100% accurate and it takes a lot of time to learn how to use them if you’re not all that computer savvy.

Solar installation companies, on the other hand, should have their own proprietary software that can also provide an accurate estimation of sun hours of a location to its customers based on factors like roof orientation, shading, weather etc. Many other metrics can be estimated from the solar energy analysis of a location such as a target offset of solar energy and estimates of 20 to 30-year savings.

Solar companies usually provide an on-site investigation once you sign up to go solar with them. These companies have certified solar techs who uses a tool called “sun eye” to provide more accurate shading analysis of a location to ensure that the solar panel can meet the companies estimated amount of production on a particular location. If in the event it is determined that your location does have some shading issues, there are certain ways to optimize the solar panel productivity.

How can issues of shading be resolved to boost solar panel productivity?

Solar panel systems can be altered and modified in a number of different ways to overcome shading losses. Some of the common methods devised are as below:

  1. Stringing Arrangements – Modules in a solar panel system are connected in series to form strings that are connected in parallel to an inverter. The power output of a string can be brought down significantly if it has a shaded module in it. However, the output of a parallel string cannot be reduced by a shaded module in one string. Hence the system can be optimized by classifying shaded and unshaded modules into different strings. For example, in systems that are commonly deployed in the market or businesses, modules that receive shade can be grouped into one string while the remaining modules that receive no shade can be grouped into another string.
  2. Bypass Diodes – They are devices in a module in which the current can go past the regions of the module that are covered by shade. Utilization of the bypass diodes allows unshaded cell strings to allow current to flow through them. However, the drawback of using these devices is that we cannot benefit from the working from the solar cells which have been bypassed by the flowing current.  Roughly, around 3 bypass diodes will be required for a panel having 60 solar cells.
  3. Module-level Power Electronics (MLPEs) – MLPEs are devices that are connected to each shaded solar panel module in a PV system to boost their power output by the use of maximum power point tracking. MLPEs commonly include DC optimizers and microinverters.
  4. DC Optimizers – DC optimizers tend to increase the power output of an individual solar module, by maintaining the performance of other modules as well, by changing the voltages and current at the output of a particular solar module. For instance, a DC optimizer will boost the output current of a shaded solar panel producing electricity with a lower current by decreasing its voltage so that the current through it is of the same value as the current flowing in the unshaded panels. This ensures that the same amount of power is produced by all the panels.
  5. Microinverters – The DC -AC conversion in each panel can be done by having each panel connected to a small inverter instead of having a single inverter for the entire system since all the modules will be connected in parallel and each microinverter will work at its MPPT, the functioning of other panels would not be affected. This will not let the efficiency of the panels be affected due to the shading effect of the panels.
  6. Ground Mount PV System– In Ground-mounted PV systems, the panel orientation can be optimized as well as there are no space constraints. They also have better ground clearance between the panel and the ground.

One thought on “Does solar work in the shade?”

  1. I was told by a solar company that I did not qualify because of the pitch of my garage roof. I am very much interested in solar energy for my home. That company suggested ground panels but said it would take up 1/3 of my tiny yard. What are my other options?

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Fresh water for cats

.  I wanted to inquired about the large sized solar sipper.  We recommend them to clients who feed and care for homeless cats in our city.  We absolutely love the solar sippers for cat caretakers who need to supply fresh water for outdoor cats but cannot use an electric heated water bowl for lack of an accessible electrical outlet.  In years past, I have noticed the solar sippers being offered on Amazon but this year I cannot find them anywhere.  Amazon stated that they are out of stock, possibly indefinitely.  I was very sad to hear this.  Is there any way your customers can still access the large sized solar sipper?  We receive questions about this constantly during the cold winter months.  I would love to get my hands on them again.  If you have any information for me on this subject I would be so grateful.  I appreciate your time.  Have a lovely day.


Give outdoor creatures the same loving fresh water your indoor pets receive for morning drinking. Solar Sipper Model 10008 portable all season durable easy to clean outdoor water station for wild birds is safe, with no electric wires to chew or peck. Keeps water covered and clean from deadly bacteria. Insulates with air space to keep water warm in winter and cool in summer. Passive solar black top design uses sunlight to keep inner water ice free in ambient wind free outer air to about 20 deg. F. Eight inch diameter holds one quart fresh water. Bird has innovative 1 1/2 inch drinking hole( pet has 4” hole), Berry red outer container attracts birds. Google the tests at solar sipper 21415. Black top painted tanks were used long ago in Old West USA to keep winter drinking water free of ice for prairie cattle.




cats and water

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How to save & take care of a kitten and feral cats - an advocacy tool kit

Alley Cat Allies Global Cat Day® is October 16

BETHESDA, Md. – October 14, 2019 – Alley Cat Allies and its supporters around the world will observe Global Cat Day® on Wednesday, October 16, with a commitment to save cats, including stray and feral cats, from being killed.

Becky Robinson, the president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, is asking everyone who values the lives of cats to sign the Alley Cat Allies’ Global Cat Day Pledge online.

“The Global Cat Day Pledge includes the fundamental principle that all cats have the right to live their lives, and it guides everything we do to protect cats,” Robinson said. “We stand for humane, non-lethal programs for cats, and those who join us can take action to stop cats from being killed.”

Millions of cats and kittens are in life-threatening danger because felines are killed more than any other animal in shelters across the nation. Global Cat Day demands that community leaders abolish policies that result in the killing of cats; equip communities with lifesaving, humane policies like Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR); and change any policies that threaten cats’ health and safety.

TNR is the mainstream approach in which community cats, sometimes called feral cats, are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, eartipped and returned to the outdoor homes where they live and thrive. As sound public policy, TNR reduces shelter intake, “euthanasia” and calls to animal services, which saves taxpayer dollars.

About Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Allies, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is the global engine of change for cats. Alley Cat Allies is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of all cats through its innovative, cutting-edge programs. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has grown into a powerful force with over half a million supporters. The organization has helped and inspired countless individuals, communities and other organizations to save and improve the lives of cats and kittens worldwide. Alley Cat Allies works with lawmakers, animal shelters and advocates to change attitudes and advance lifesaving policies that best serve the interests of cats. Alley Cat Allies’ website is www.alleycat.org, and the organization is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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Will this gentrification affect wildlife access to drinking water?

chemicals in water


News from climate program RMI

RMI Annual Report: Seeing Hope in Action Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.


Dear Thomas,

As many in the US prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, all of us at Rocky Mountain Institute around the world express our deep gratitude to all of our friends, partners, and donors whose support has inspired, fueled, and sustained the critical work that we do to drive a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.

In the spirit of thanks, we are proud to share with you RMI’s 2019 Annual Report which highlights what we’ve accomplished together with a vast and growing network of international partners in government, the private sector, other NGOs, and philanthropists dedicated to curbing climate change and building a brighter energy future for all.

In the report you can see how our strategic approach to THINK, DO, and SCALE is guiding efforts to boldly tackle the toughest long-term problems in our energy system at a global scale, and the tangible impacts that show hope—when applied through action each day—can change entire systems and people’s lives.

A few highlights include:


Lowering the cost of minigrid access: Minigrids in the Money: Six Ways to Reduce Minigrid Costs by 60% for Rural Electrification shows how to overcome the barriers that minigrids face in reaching their potential to bring clean, reliable energy to communities far from an electric grid and efficiently serve the millions of people in the region who lack access to electricity.


REALIZING the promise of affordable net-zero energy homes for low-income families: RMI’s REALIZE initiative is supporting pilot projects to retrofit net-zero energy multifamily housing in California, New York, and the cities of Boston and Minneapolis to bring low-income communities affordable, clean, reliable energy.


Collaboratively spinning off RMI’s Business Renewables Center to Become the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA): REBA is a trade association representing corporate powerhouses that collectively aim to bring more than 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables online in the US by 2025. That’s roughly equivalent to 189 MILLION solar photovoltaic panels.

We hope what you read in these pages inspires optimism and pride in our shared successes, and fuels our resolve for the important work ahead. I invite you to join myself, and RMI Managing Directors Richenda van Leeuwen and Jennifer Stokes for a live webcast: Hope in the Global Push to Address Climate Crisis where we will share RMI’s latest research on the white spaces global leaders must rally around to achieve a 1.5°C future. RSVP today.

Also, mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving on December 3, 2019. We hope RMI is one of your trusted non-profits of choice this giving season.

Thank you again to all of our partners for the enduring support that’s making real impact possible. And, to all of you celebrating Thanksgiving, we wish you a very happy holiday.

Jules Kortenhorst
CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute






Rocky Mountain Institute transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future.


Copyright © 2019 Rocky Mountain Institute, All rights reserved. This email was sent to tomah@solarsippers.com

outdoor water dish for dogs heated by solar

From P:et’s Bowls Tips      mypetbowls.com

Solar heated water bowl

Question Morning everyone, I need a Solar heated water bowl for my two dogs, I have been searching all over the internet but I still haven’t found anything yet, what do you guys recommend?


Winistan *Best Answer*

The Solar water bowl that I bought from amazon about a few weeks back is called commercial solar sipper and it can hold about 2 liters of water.

My dog has been drinking on this bowl for about 2 weeks now and it does work but I wasn’t super impressed with it since it doesn’t wok on really extreme cold temperatures.

If you are just looking for a decent Solar heated water bowl then I’m going to recommend that you also buy the commercial solar sipper but if you are living on extreme cold weather than *do not buy this because it won’t work*.

The commercial solar sipper is good for small dogs or even cats, but I don’t know of any offline store that is selling it, you’ll have to buy it online from amazon.

You can still buy this for medium size dogs but it best for cats and smaller dogs…


I bought the commercial solar sipper after it was recommended to me by my dad and I really wanted to love it but I was very disappointed as it didn’t work for me but it did work for my dad.

I think the reason it didn’t work for me was because I just don’t have enough sunlight on it… if there is enough sunlight where you live then give it a short and see if it work for you.

Even though this didn’t work for me, I’m still going to advise you to buy it because it doesn’t cost a lot of money.


The only Solar water bowl that I can think of right now would be a commercial solar sipper since it is what I also bought for my dog and it does a pretty decent job.

Please note that, there is no such thing as then perfect Solar water bowl, this Solar water bowl is also not perfect but it does the job for my dog since it does keep the water from freezing during winter.

The commercial solar sipper has it own pros and cons or downfalls but I honestly do not have a single regret from spending my money on it just because it does work and it doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Where to buy?

You can get this Solar water bowl online from amazon.com, you can still find it on other online stores like eBay and Walmart but only buy it from amazon because amazon always delivers on time plus amazon has the cheapest shipping.

How much does it cost?

I bought my commercial solar sipper about 6 months ago so I’m really not sure about the current prize, click here to check the current prize yourself from amazon.


  • It does prevent water from freezing
  • It cheap
  • It easy to use
  • It easy to clean
  • Cons:
  • It really doesn’t work on super extreme cold temperaturesClick here to buy it from amazon, good luck and god bless, I really hope my comment was helpful… Deep patelI also bought the commercial solar sipper and it does work but sometimes it doesn’t, I wouldn’t recommend it to people living on extreme cold weather.The reason I bought this Solar water bowl was because of the customer reviews since about 60% percent of people who have bought it were saying it does work.This Solar water bowl is available offline and offline but make sure to buy it from amazon so you can get it for a much reasonable prize.Enrique LopezWhen it comes to getting a Solar water bowl, you really don’t have many options to choose from, the only Solar heated water bowl available on the market right now is the commercial solar sipper and it is only available on amazon.MikeyI’m going to advise you to also buy it because it did work for me, just give it a try and see if it does work for you.On the commercial solar sipper page, 50% percent of people said it worked for them and 50% said it didn’t work for them, so it really up to you.  kevin FunkTo be honest, the commercial solar sipper didn’t work for me but it did work for my friends who lives in Canada.Share on Social mediaFrom the factory:https://www.bing.com/search?q=solar+sipper+for+dogs&FORM=R5FD2 
  • https://www.amazon.com/Commercial-Solar-Sipper/dp/B000K0P34I
  • Give outdoor creatures the same loving fresh water your indoor pets receive for morning drinking. Solar Sipper Model 10008 portable all season durable easy to clean outdoor water station for wild birds is safe, with no electric wires to chew or peck. Keeps water covered and clean from deadly bacteria. Insulates with air space to keep water warm in winter and cool in summer. Passive solar black top design uses sunlight to keep inner water ice free in ambient wind free outer air to about 20 deg. F. Eight inch diameter holds one quart fresh water. Bird has innovative 1 1/2 inch drinking hole( pet has 4” hole), Berry red outer container attracts birds. Google the tests at solar sipper 21415. Black top painted tanks were used long ago in Old West USA to keep winter drinking water free of ice for prairie cattle.
  • You really do not have any other choice because there is only one Solar water bowl available on amazon and that is the commercial solar sipper.
  • You should get the commercial solar sipper, it works for some and it doesn’t work for some, just give it a chance as it doesn’t cost a lot of money.
  • Commercial Solar Sipper
  • I’m not going to promise you anything, maybe it will work and maybe it won’t, we really cannot be sure lol, but I’m positive that it will work for you since it worked for me.
  • There is only one Solar water bowl on amazon, I bought it and it worked but my brother in-law told me that it didn’t work for him though.
  • I would advise you to don’t mind the negative reviews and just give it a chance, maybe it will work for you and maybe it won’t, you really don’t have anything to lose because it freaking cheap anyways.
  • The commercial solar sipper pretty much works for me even though some people under the amazon customer reviews are talking really negative things about it.
  • Do not buy it locally because it is ridiculously when buying it offline that why I recommend buying it from amazon just because it cheaper when buying it online.
  • As a person who have bought this commercial solar sipper, I really highly recommend it just because it does work for me.
  • I also had a really hard time getting a Solar water bowl but after searching and searching, I finally found the commercial solar sipper from amazon.
  • There are not really many Solar heated water bowls out there, there is one that is called “commercial solar sipper” which you can get from amazon.
  • Commercial Solar Sipper
  • I have told about two of my best friends to also buy this commercial solar sipper and they both told me that they loved it that why I’m very positive that you are going to love it as well.

The solar sipper’s unique design for drinking water for outdoor animals

Give outdoor animals the same loving daily fresh water your indoor pets receive.

The Solar Sipper is a delightful summer and winter portable watering device for wild birds, pets and wildlife. Its traditional common sense origin comes from large water tanks painted with black tops developed by prairie livestock ranchers in the Old West to use sunlight to keep drinking water from freezing too soon in blizzard weather.


In today’s environmentally conscious world, it’s a responsible outdoor water station because it is designed to work in daytime when most animals like to drink. It’s designed to work to a temperature healthy for animals, about 20 degrees F, using sunlight not electricity from fossil fuels.


To use, fill with clean water in morning and place outside in sunlight sheltered from wind in time for animal daylight drinking. Works in all seasons and in winter the unique patented passive solar top design keeps pet or wildlife drinking for most daylight hours ice free down to wind free ambient air temperature of about 20 degree F. Safe, no electricity to shock. It’s common sense. You can fill your Solar Sipper with clean water at the same time as you prepare your daily indoor pet water.


The Solar Sipper works better than any open water bowl or birdbath. Its top design helps to protect inside water from droppings and bacteria. It’s portable with no wire to chew. Check out test results for performance video in winter storms. Google at solar sipper tests 21415.


Another innovative product from Happy Bird Corporation, home of Thomas Hollyday Chesapeake fiction, useful nature books and environmental safe drinking water products for animals, and blogs on water resources for animals. http://solarsippers.com/ Write our president Tom Hollyday at tomah@solarsippers.com