As a confirmed "tree hugger" it really hurts me to take down a tree, but we've had to be practical because of our solar. This close to the equator, it gets dark between 5pm and 6pm almost year-round. The sun does move tho' from the north to the south. Right now, our small system shuts down or goes to sleep on cloudy days by 2pm. Even if we could afford them, our system has been in operation for nearly two years, so we can't add more batteries. We have to maximize what we have. We decided to cut down several trees to the west of the guest house to open up the sky in the afternoon.
I say "we", but Rene, along with two of his sons, Alejandro and Carlos, did the job. It made me so nervous to have Rene climb up the trees, but I had to leave it in his hands. They work so hard and are so good natured about it all. They cut down five trees, most of which are of no useful value. The only one we'll make use of is a small cabbage bark which will make good fence posts.
I'm hoping that this new openness will accomplish our goal of giving us at least another hour of direct sunlight.