Should I Cut My Trees for Solar Power? When considering solar panels for your home many people look around their yard and consider cutting down trees to either reduce shading on their roof or prevent future potential shading. Is this really necessary? It depends. Sometimes really tall trees are far enough away or situated to the north so they won’t impact the solar access. Additionally, if a house is partially shaded they can still sometimes get enough sunlight on other parts of their roof that the shaded part won’t negatively impact production and the homeowner can still produce enough power to offset energy usage. Ultimately, it is best to wait for a professional solar access report to determine the need to cut down any trees.
For every customer, RevoluSun conducts a pre-inspection to determine a home’s solar viability. Our Project Manager will then make a recommendation regarding tree work and in our experience, only about 25% of people who would benefit from tree work actually take the advice. One of our most recent customers had very poor solar access, about 74%, because of excessive shading. He cut down 22 small pines himself and hired a contractor to remove 3 large oak trees for $1,000. After all of this work his solar access was up to 81%, enough to earn a CEC rebate of $3,250 and increase his solar electricity generation by 1,290 kWh/year! The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) is responsible for encouraging renewable energy production and, at the time this client purchased, also offered a rebate to residential solar systems producing above 81%.
The extra energy produced by this system saves an extra $300/year in avoided electricity costs, assuming the current rate of $0.23/kWh and another $330/year in SREC income. Combined with the CEC rebate, this customer saved an extra $3,880 in the first year alone. Over 25 years, this customer will save about $7,600 on avoided electricity while earning an extra $11,500 between the CEC and SRECs. That’s over $19,000!