As mentioned previously, my home has poor solar access. The Total Solar Resource Fraction, or TSRF, which measures available solar energy for a site, is sub-fifty percent. I could live with that, but my lawn — and any solar panels I put on — would do better with more sun. This meant I had to clear and trim trees. I hired Mike Martino Tree Service, who, in total, removed eighteen trees — gray birch, pitch pine, and hemlock. The oak tree, whose canopy reaches over my house, has remained. It’s a beautiful tree, and I could not justify cutting it down to increase the TSRF. Site work requires thoughtful balance on the part of the homeowner; tree work, in particular as a means to increase TSRF, should be well-considered so as to also preserve and protect the greater ecosystem of the property.
The cost to do this tree work totaled more than $3,000. Although site work cannot be included as an expense to the solar installation for the tax credit, tree removal is a reasonable out-of-pocket expense to maximize TSRF while maintaining home and property.