Cloudiness and shade

Id like to give a shout out to Scott /Benson for all the help on this forum. I’m having no problems just curious and trying to learn without doing the research. From reading other post I’ve learned that Parallel configuration helps with shaded and cloudy scenarios ( which i have no idea why) and series helps with voltage requirements. I bought a 370 panel that produces over 40 volts to use at my home instead of my 2 sets of rockpals wired in series. Its much faster to set up and produces way more solar energy for my ac200p. My question is how does shading and cloudiness affect a single panel. I get significant losses in those conditions. Would a single panel be more like parallel or series or neither. I’am definitely not a smart man. But i’m impressing my wife making that coffe in morning on free power. Well not really free, I’m going to have to make alot of coffee to pay for this hobby. Thanks for any education I can get.

Series is like a column of 10 people in line at a traffic light in a single lane. The light turns green and all the cars start moving at the same time, no problem and all 10 people get to move. But…if car #3 does not move (gets shaded) then all the cars behind it also cannot move and only three cars were able to move forward and produce motion. Benefit is that you only have to have a single lane with a narrow road to carry the traffic.

Parallel is like the same 10 cars at a traffic light but they each have their own separate lane (10 lanes side by side). When the light turns green, all the cars begin to move forward except car #3. The remaining 9 cars are still able to move forward and produce motion. This comes at a cost of having to have a wide road which takes up more room.

With regards to a single panel…The panels are not actually a single panel but are made up of many small panels to form the large panel you see. If those individual panels are connected in series (which is more efficient to move the electricity through with higher pressure) then a single “SMALL” panel within the panel will dramatically affect all the other small panels on the same circuit.

So…If you have 6 panels set out in the sun connected in series and one of the panels gets shaded, the electricity from that one panel hinders the flow of electricity to all the other panels connected to it.

If you have the same 6 panels connected in parallel and one panel gets shaded the other 5 panels do not depend on each other for electrical flow. This sounds like a big advantage, but in the real world this requires much larger wiring, components and equipment and is the reason that you can only connect a few panels in parallel.

Now this is all completely non technical but my attempt to explain it in simple terms so for all the engineers out there go ahead and post more technical explanations that most will not understand : )


Awesome explanation. So my single panel cells are kind of wired in series configuration?

It is most likely groups of cells connected in series. Bottom line is that any shading of any kind is a real watt killer.

If shading is unavoidable and you are able to connect in parallel without exceeding the incoming amperage limit then that would be the way to go.

But for your single panel, just make sure to keep it fully in the sun and you will be good to go.

Roof-top and solar bank panel technology is moving to panel-mounted micro-inverters. The DC is converted to AC at each panel, eliminating shading issues and the need for large wall mounted inverters.