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October 11, 2012


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John Dunn

There is a house several blocks from here with its roof totally covered with solar panels. However, there is also a chimney in the middle of the array whose shadow falls across a couple of the solar panels and that whole house is almost surrounded by tall trees.

I've often wondered just how much benefit that homeowner has derived.


It depends on when the shadow falls, and if it's during the peak sun hours. I'm investigating a solar installation at my home, and have been told I have a perfect roof for it, with 96% sun exposure during the peak hours, which drops to 88% on the east side as the day progresses and the neighbor's home begins to occlude. Several computer programs are available that can calculate the annual sun exposure based on your home's location, and one of the vendors bidding on the project, Sun Energy Systems of Seattle, gave me some very nice plots of how trees and other structures affected those calculations.

Dick LaRosa

I recently read in Nature magazine that Chinese PV manufacturers are failing. Can't find the article. My office is a mess. PV is great if you can't get access to the electric grid. Solar evaporator rafts in coastal waters to alleviate drought may be very important and low tech, low pollution.

Carl Schwab

To commenters----I am assembling additional information about the “ins and outs” of solar panels. When I have it assembled I will put up a BLGO----it IS a more complicated subject than seems on the surface. -----Carl Schwab

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