what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

I was considering asking my neighbor if she'd remove her huge maple tree that really does a number on my winter solar production. First of all she'll probably tell me o jump in the lake, but I might as well ask. I understand that trees help against global warming, i wonder if the increase in solar production would offset the loss CO2 the tree removes? i realize thats sort of hard to answer, in total we're only talking about 1kw of panels. next year, im hoping, will be closer to 2kw. Given the state of things I'm thinking she may agree if i point out the benefits of my solar production and how it helps all of us not just me. \

just ruminating

Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

You can use numbers like these (just random number from various agencies--who knows if they apply to your situation):

Footnotes from Apartment Manager's Energy Audit web page

Lbs CO2 represents the pounds of carbon dioxide from electricity generation emissions avoided due to energy savings from power management. Based upon a conversion of 1.43 lbs. CO2 per kWh electricity generated. (Based on Energy Information Agency data.)

Tons CO2 represents the tons of carbon dioxide from electricity generation emissions avoided due to energy savings from power management. 2000 pounds equals one ton.

Cars Off the Road represents the pounds of carbon dioxide from car emissions avoided due to energy savings from power management. Based upon a conversion of 11,560 lbs. CO2 emitted per year by a car. (Based on EPA data.)

Acres of Trees Planted represents acres of forest that would have to be planted to sequester the amount of carbon dioxide avoided due to energy savings from power management. Based upon a conversion of 7,333 lbs. CO2 sequestered per acre of trees. (Based on EPA data.)

2 kWatts of solar panel may generate around 2,600 to 3,000 kWhrs per year... or about 4,200 lbs a year--more than makes up for her ONE tree (7,333 lbs per acre of forest)... (but if this is only during winter, perhaps you generate a few hundred kWhrs--then her tree trumps your winter collection in terms of CO2).

Can you find somebody that will pay for Maple? Generally, the cutting of a tree (around here) cost more than the power generated on my system (\$1,500+ per medium sized oak tree to knock one down and haul it away).

-Bill
Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

cool thanks. Well that's some good info. My wife thinks Im nuts to even consider it . i dont think shed remove it and i hesitate to create friction. still good to know that if it comes up i have some info. i wou;d gladly pay that much to have it removed. without that tree my offgrid panels might even make enoug to do the pellet stove, but as it is I barely get by running the web server at 15 watts 24x7.

• Solar Expert Posts: 633 ✭✭✭✭
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

Another thing to consider is the shade helping you in summer? Trees are pretty good for that, shading in summer, yet letting light through in winter. Just a thought...
3kw solar PV, 8 L16's, xw 5548, Honda eu2000i, iota DLS-54-13, Leaf EV, 4 ton horizontal geothermal, grid tied - Green Bay, WI
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

very good point but no. the sun high enough in summer that it clears the tree for a good 6 mos i think. unfortunately its dead solar noon or close to it where the tree lies. so i start getting partial / hazy shade that knocks out pretty much 80% until it clears the tree again. inyterestingly ive still been getting charged up regularly the last week or so as you can see today : http://lamplight.no-ip.org/de-solar-cannoli-ii-cam.html
yesterday i was working home and plugged in the dc direct for my desktop computer all day long, i was doing so well that i did this before i hit absorb (i can pretty much tell if its going to be a good production day).

I started talk w/a carpenter, depending on costs i will probably get a roof put on the outside stairs that the offgrid panels are next to as you ,may recall, then i will put the panels on the stairwell (flat) roof. this will give me a few more feet and will make a good difference next winter, even with the tree. but i want to make sure i have enough \$ saved for my gridtie expansion this year, hope to add at least 4 more sanyo 200's. i am hoping for a tax return this yr, last year i owed tons and have adjusted accordingly.
• Solar Expert Posts: 253 ✭✭
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

I think you're right in being concerned about creating friction.  Even the act of bringing up the issue could be a problem, depending on the neighbor.  Even if she declines gracefully to do it, there could be guilt or bad blood.   But only you (that is, you and your wife) can determine how to approach this neighbor, if at all.  For me, getting along with neighbors is a much higher principle than ecology or conservation, and will ultimately serve the latter, anyway.

In fact, I do have a neighbor's tree blocking the early morning sun, but it would never have occurred to me to ask them to cut it.  Our array was placed with best compromise between existing structures, and we'll live with it.
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

exactly, ive decided on the copper nail under the cover of the evening

seriously, i sadly think youre right and i probably wont bring it up. the only reason i considered it is because she really does very very little to take care of her house or make things look nice (its an eyesore). in fact it all looks like she doesnt really care about anything. nonetheless, i will have to live w/it i think. we have a pretty good relationship why push the boundaries. thanks folks!
• Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
Re: what's less worse: cut a tree or add some solar?

act like the generous neighbor(monies allowed) and ask her if she'd like her tree trimmed. if she says yes then she cares about it and if she says no or some other goofy reaction then she doesn't care that much and you can run it past her about what it does to your solar generation and possibly be allowed to have it taken down. price how much it would be first, but hey even a trimming may reap it back to you in electric production offsetting the tree trimming costs. i agree that moving the pvs may help even more than a tree trimming.