I have seen trees cut down for the sake of solar panels. While I am not against trimming a branch here and there, I am against the complete removal of trees to improve solar exposure. My opinion is not solely formed based on my 'tree hugging' tendencies but for more pragmatic reasons.
I used to live on the third floor of a three-story brick apartment building. My windows looked out on an old abandoned house with maple trees. The trees grew close to the building so I had a nice leafy view. Then, one day I came home and the trees were gone.
I used to cool the whole apartment in the summer with a medium sized air conditioning unit that I mounted in the living room window. After the trees were removed, I had to move the air conditioner into the bedroom and keep the door closed in order to keep myself from being char broiled while I slept. The remainder of the apartment was a balmy 110F+ for the rest of the summer and my electricity bills soared to new heights as my air conditioner tried to keep up.
My apartment was only 550 square feet, but imagine this scenario in full scale at your own home or business. It is possible that the electricity output of your new solar panels will not be able to match your increased air conditioning electricity usage that results from eliminating shade. This is an important consideration when estimating pay back period.
Have you made any green changes to your home or business recently? Let's start a discussion about real measured savings.