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A solar panel’s performance can be affected by anything that blocks it, so it’s critical to learn how to keep snow off solar panels.
Since snow melts in a few days, waiting for that to happen is one thing you can do. However, if you’d like to clear snow from solar panels, you may consider hiring a professional to do it. Letting a professional do the job is considered one of the best, safest, and most economical approaches.
Meanwhile, using a roof rake and blowing warm air at the solar panels can help get snow off solar panels quickly. Let’s discuss more of this topic below.
Will Snow Cause Damage to Your Solar Panel Systems
Snow likely won’t cause damage to solar panels because they are specifically designed to handle approximately two to four feet of snow without significant issues. Moreover, solar manufacturers ensure their consumers a specific amount of load the solar panels can handle without incurring any damage.
Hence, winter seasons are not a significant concern for the durability of solar panel systems.
What You Need for Keeping Snow Off Solar Panels
Each point below lists the items for a method. Pick one or all of them according to your preferences:
- Spray hose
- Roof rake, ladder (for climbing roof-mounted systems)
- Long plastic air hose, leaf blower
Solar Panel Snow Removal Methods
There’s no denying that hiring a professional to remove snow from solar panels can be expensive. However, it won’t hurt to spend a bit because you should prioritize your safety, and you should also think about your solar panel’s warranty.
Anyhow, if you’re looking for some DIY methods of removing snow on solar panels, you may want to take a look at the following techniques:
1. Allowing the snow to melt by itself
Snow won’t stay forever, after all. Since solar panels are generally set up facing south to absorb more sun, snow has high chances of melting during the daytime. The good news is that it’s easier for snow to fall off if you have roof-mounted systems. If there’s dry snow, windy conditions can help make the melting process of the snow faster.
So, it’s not a severe problem if you don’t clean solar panels covered in snow. Solar experts advise it’s better to do nothing because trying to get rid of the snow that covers your solar panels generally comes with some potential risks; climbing on roofs can be dangerous, for example.
At the same time, not touching or causing damage to your solar panels can protect their warranty.
2. Use a hose to spray the solar panels.
This approach works similarly to blowing warm air at the panels. You need to spray your panels to remove the snow and accelerate the melting process. This method is more straightforward to do than the blowing warm air method.
Store your spray hose properly to make sure that it does not freeze up.
3. Using a roof rake
Aside from simply allowing the snow to melt on its own, using a roof rake can help manage heavy snow issues. This approach is one of the most common methods that most homeowners use when removing snow on solar panels.
Roof rakes usually have a rubberized head that purposely removes snow without causing damage to the solar panels.
Be sure to avoid scraping the surface of the solar panels when using a roof rake. This method can be slightly time-consuming and arduous, but many homeowners report it’s effective and economical.
Removing most of the snow pile will pave the way for the sun to hit the solar cells. For roof-mounted systems, you have to be extra careful when using a ladder to climb your roof in winter (learn more detailed 8 steps to install solar panels on the roof here).
4. Blowing warm air at the solar panels
On the other hand, you may also opt for something that works like a solar panel snow melter by applying warm air to the solar panels. You can use this method to accelerate the process of melting snow piling up on the panels.
Before starting, it’s necessary to determine the best approach to execute this technique. To do it effectively, rig up a lengthy plastic air hose to a leaf blower. This technique will help blow the snow off the panels efficiently and accelerate the melting process of heavy snow accumulation.
Meanwhile, you might find this video about solar panel snow removal informative and helpful:
Do Solar Panels Work When Covered With Snow
Yes. However, don’t expect your solar panels to produce as much energy as they usually do during summer. Solar panel production can be affected when they don’t absorb sufficient sun exposure.
Since there is less sunlight during winter, you can’t expect solar panels in the snow to produce energy at a maximum. Depending on the region you currently reside in, the lack of sunlight can hurt your panel’s energy production. Therefore, you should consider low-light solar panels and their lifespan to come up with the most optimal solution.
But, fortunately, this does not necessarily convey that your household won’t have power access. The delightful news is that the power grid can supply you with backup energy to run your appliances and lighting needs, or you can also utilize your battery.
That said, lower solar panel production during winter is only temporary, so it’s not something for you to worry about.
A Few Tips on Keeping Snow Off Solar Panels
Cleaning snow off solar panels can be a challenging and potentially risky task to deal with. For homeowners who don’t consider hiring a professional to remove the snow on panels, the tips below can help impede snow accumulation and protect the integrity of your PV system.
- Solar experts generally recommend installing your solar panels at an angle of a minimum of 35-degrees. This can make it easier for snow to melt and fall off.
- For homeowners residing in locations where there’s extreme snowfall, try setting up a snow guard for your panels. Snow guards execute a great job of allowing the snow to slide off slowly, so everyone can be safe from unforeseen snow-related incidents.
- Avoid using any sharp materials or tools that could damage your solar panels’ surface and other components.
An Important Reminder
Please note that it’s vital to examine your solar panel warranty before trying to do something to remove the snow on your panels. Some warranties become void when your panels are damaged due to DIY jobs. In other words, any damage caused to your solar panels won’t be covered under warranty.
You certainly wouldn’t want to do anything to nullify your warranty, so consider your method carefully making a final decision. Again, please remember that it’s always best to consult a professional to keep yourself safe and your warranty intact.
In summary, solar systems can provide homeowners with many benefits, but it’s necessary to handle them with care to preserve their warranties. Hopefully, the methods discussed above can assist you in removing snow from your PV system.
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As the founder of the Avasolar team, I aspire to solve the problems for households in selecting, installing, and utilizing solar mechanical devices.