When modelling the absorption in semiconductor nanowire (NW) arrays for solar cell and photodetector applications, the array is typically assumed to be infinitely periodic such that a single unit cell suffices for the simulations. However, any actual array is of a finite extent and might also show varying types of localized defects such as missing or electrically non-contacted individual NWs. Here, we study InP NWs of 2000 nm in length and 180 nm in diameter, placed in a square array of 400 nm in period, giving a rather optimized absorption of sunlight. We show that the absorption in the center NW of a finite N × N array converges already at N = 5 close to the value found for the corresponding infinite array. Furthermore, we show that a missing NW causes an enhanced absorption in neighboring nanowires, which compensates for 77% of the absorption loss due to the missing NW. In other words, an electrically non-contacted NW, which absorbs light but cannot contribute to the external short-circuit current, is a four times worse defect than a missing NW.