Calculating Available Sun re Trees?

carbon60

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
218
Location
Ottawa
Good Morning All,

I have a property with a complicated view of the sky, due mostly to very large trees. Is there a magical app (the Starlink app does it via the camera, which is pretty awesome) that would help calculate where exactly to position panels to get maximum exposure and/or which trees to sacrifice? If no magic app, then a process? :p

Thanks,

A.
 

wattmatters

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
1,755
Try Pylon Observer:


There is a free level in which you can build a couple of systems to test/play.

You can put in objects to simulate the trees, building and other shade objects, add your array(s) and specify exactly what they are and move them around to see the outcome of production. It will tell you the losses due to shading (it does assume you always have load for your panels to deliver max power output, e.g. like a grid tied system would always be operating at max capacity) but I think this is better for understanding potential shade impacts no matter what sort of system you have.
 

carbon60

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 8, 2021
Messages
218
Location
Ottawa
Try Pylon Observer:


There is a free level in which you can build a couple of systems to test/play.

You can put in objects to simulate the trees, building and other shade objects, add your array(s) and specify exactly what they are and move them around to see the outcome of production. It will tell you the losses due to shading (it does assume you always have load for your panels to deliver max power output, e.g. like a grid tied system would always be operating at max capacity) but I think this is better for understanding potential shade impacts no matter what sort of system you have.
That sounds pretty useful. Do you know how long he trial lasts? I don’t want to signup now, only to have it expire before I get out to the property in April.

Thanks for the reply,

A.
 

wattmatters

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Apr 16, 2021
Messages
1,755
Do you know how long he trial lasts?
I'm unaware of any expiry. I set my first system up maybe 18 months ago.

The way it works is you get a free allocation of credits to try it out and which enable you to build a system or two. I have my two systems replicated in there. You can access those at any time, but if you wish to build more systems then you buy extra credits.

e.g. here's my grid tied system:

Screen Shot 2022-02-09 at 2.04.18 pm.png

Ignore the large tree casting shade, that's no longer there. And my roof is no longer that colour - old satellite imagery.

But you can see the simulated trees I've inserted, and there is also a block to simulate a chimney which is in front of the eastern array.

Here's a video of using the shading simulation:

I show how the shade moves through the day for the current week of the year, then I move the week to the middle of the year and do it again. Keep in mind we are southern hemisphere so it's Summer now and week 26 = Winter plus the sun is in the northern sky.

And here's the estimated production showing what the expected losses due to shading are for each month (the dark blue section of the columns). This can be shown as either absolute production or a daily average.

Screen Shot 2022-02-09 at 2.05.10 pm.png

And here's a video showing the production, consumption and grid export simulation which you can look at any week of the year and any time of day:


Of course if you don't have a grid tied system then you can ignore the export data, and the production data assumes there array there is infinite load to supply.

For off-grid though it's a great way to simulate what the maximal and minimal output you can expect from your system.
 
Last edited:
Top