Can solar and shade get along?  

solar powered panels in a field

While trees and solar panels haven’t always been the best of neighbours, modular setups may be the key to keeping solar attic fans running on properties where high amounts of shade present a challenge.

Like all solar-powered devices, solar attic fans rely on exposure to the sun in order to generate the power necessary for ventilating attics. Solar attic fans help homeowners reduce the risk of moisture-related damage by boosting air circulation, and help lessen the load on air conditioners by pushing out hot air that accumulates inside buildings. Increased air circulation prevents the buildup of mould and mildew caused by moisture-related damage, improving overall air quality for everyone indoors.

In most cases, homeowners are encouraged to position their solar attic fans on the south or southwest-facing side of their roof. Ideally, the fan would be installed about 18-24 inches from the roof’s peak, and as close to the middle of the roofline as possible. This arrangement allows the fan’s solar attic panels to make maximum use of the sun’s rays.

But what happens if shade from trees or structures end up blocking these preferred installation spots?

Cutting out shade can be tricky

In a 2011 study, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that solar panels lose about a quarter of their efficiency if their access to the sun is blocked. Depending on local regulations, homeowners are generally free to make their own decisions about trimming or removing sources of shade on their own lot.

However, things can get much more complicated when the sources of shade are located on a neighbour’s property. Though some regions have laws which protect solar panels from neighbouring shade, many others do not. In some extreme cases, feuds over solar access have had to be resolved by court rulings.

How can a modular solar attic fan system help?

Unlike many other models on the market which offer limited installation options, iSolar Solutions offers a lineup of solar attic fans that are modular by design. This allows components to be mixed and matched to create custom configurations to fit every installation challenge.

Models like the best-selling 20W-SNV-MOD, for instance, can be linked via extension cables to solar panels, which can be installed anywhere on a property where sunlight is least obstructed.

While many competitor models restrict consumers to powering one fan with one solar panel, the modular nature of iSolar Solutions’ products also allows for fans to be hooked up to multiple solar panels if necessary, increasing the total amount of solar energy harnessed in regions where sunlight may not be as plentiful. The versatility of modular solar attic fans also allows the fans themselves to be mounted in a variety of locations other than directly on top of a building’s roof.

All of the products in iSolar Solutions’ lineup come with a 20-year limited manufacturer’s warranty. For more information on what solar attic ventilation solutions are best for your home, please contact one of our knowledgeable staff for more information.

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