Winter is back, which means the days are shorter, the weather is colder, and the snow seems like it will never end. Aside from dealing with icy roads and trying to stay warm, what does winter weather mean for you in terms of your solar panel system? Vision Solar fields many questions from homeowners this time of year on this exact topic. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about using solar panels in snow.
Designed for Snow
As snow accumulates on the panels, they need to be able to withstand the extra weight. Luckily, solar panels were designed with winter weather in mind. That’s why there are such high pressure ratings on all options offered by Vision Solar. Panels with higher pressure ratings have surpassed expectations for durability and quality during pressure testing, a process that indicates how much weight panels can withstand. Solar panels with higher pressure ratings are ideal for homeowners in snowy states.
Winter Energy Production
With more snow and less sunlight, most people think their solar panel system will have a lower energy output during the winter than it will during the rest of the year. However, this is not at all the case. In fact, it’s been proven that the colder temperatures and the sunlight reflecting off of the snow can improve energy production.
When it comes to snowfall, you can still generate power with a light dusting on your array, as it takes an opaque, heavy layer of snow for your panels to stop collecting energy. With that being said, solar panel systems are installed at an angle to allow snow to slide off easily as it begins to thaw, so your lapse in energy production after a rough winter storm will generally be unnoticeable – especially if you have credits saved up from net-metering.
Maintenance Do’s and Don’ts
While your solar panel system is virtually maintenance-free upon installation, you may decide to remove any accumulated snow that doesn’t melt quickly and fall off your array within a few days. In most cases, our customers have enough credits saved within their energy company’s grid to make up for the lost energy production due to snow-covered panels. But if you do not want to tap into your reserves while waiting for the snow to melt, or if you recently installed your system, you can follow these common maintenance tips:
- Do use an approved solar panel roof rake to clean the snow off your array.
- Do use extreme caution when using your roof rake to ensure you do not scratch the panels.
- Do wear shoes with superior grip and a secure harness, and take other safety precautions when removing snow from a rooftop system.
- Do consider a pole mount for your array, especially if you are currently in the market for a system, as it allows you to adjust the angle of your panels.
- Don’t remove more than six inches of snow yourself or attempt something you’re unsure of — always call Vision Solar for help.
Go Solar This Winter
If you’re already enjoying renewable power from solar panels, get ready to enjoy low heating bills all winter long. But if you’re still unsure whether solar panels are right for your home, Vision Solar can help you decide through a free, no-obligation consultation. And believe it or not, winter is regarded across the industry as one of the best times of year to install a new array. For more information about caring for your solar panels in the snow or about our 30-day home installation process, contact us today.