Some of us like snow while others do not so much, but that does not take away from the fact that snow can have its fair share of shortcomings. A demographic that suffers from the ill effects of snow are solar panel owners trying to keep solar panels running efficiently during the winter season. If you live in the mid-Atlantic states, there’s no escaping the refreshing bouts of snowfall.
If you have been looking up solar panel snow removal methods to be safe during the winter months, we have a few workarounds that can remove snow on solar panels without removing it entirely.
- 1. Why Clear Snow From the Solar Panels
- 2. How to Clean Snow Off Solar Panels
- 3. Tips to Keep Snow Off Solar Panel
- 4. Conclusion
Why Clear Snow From the Solar Panels
Cleaning snow off solar panels is essential since those panels will most likely absorb less sunlight during the winter months than they get in the summer months, anyway. So, it’s best to keep the panels as clear as possible to avoid obstructing the sunlight, thereby further reducing their efficiency. Moreover, solar panels are usually designed to be durable against etching and cracks, but the rough edges of ice and snow can cause damage to their surfaces. So, it’s best to remove snow from solar panels as and when they accumulate.
How to Clean Snow Off Solar Panels
1. Use a Roof Rake
A common way for homeowners to properly remove snow from solar panels is by using a roof rake. It might be work and time-intensive, but it is effective nonetheless. Ensure the roof rake has a soft rubber head that will keep damage off your panel. Note that this task requires you to climb up the roof in the slippery winter conditions, so make sure that someone is watching you while you perform the task extremely cautiously.
2. Spray the Snow With a Hose
As the title suggests, this method involves spraying the panels to dislodge snow, and it catalyzes for the melting process to speed up. However, even this has its downsides. You would want to know and be prepared for snowstorms, lest your hose freezes up by then. Lastly, if temperatures are below freezing, you wouldn’t want to try this out and make matters worse.
3. Blow off the Snow With a Leaf Blower
Try blowing fluffy, comparatively lightweight snow off solar panels if you have a leaf blower around. Avoid standing below the roof edge and be cautious on the ladder. It can be difficult to keep balance while trying to operate a leaf blower, so make sure you have someone around to keep watch. Lastly, keep electrical cords out of puddles and miscellaneous other electric conductors.
3. Make Use of a Softball
Gentle vibrations often knock off light snow loose from solar panels and the home’s roof. Considering you have good aim and a strong forearm, try gently hitting the solar panels with a softball. However, do not try this during heavier snow since the ball will likely get stuck on the roof instead of knocking loose any snow.
4. Using a Heating System
Heating systems are often installed in areas prone to heavy snow and ice accumulation, especially if the weather stays cold for prolonged periods keeping the snow and ice from melting quickly on their own. Heating systems use a series of small hoses and pipes through which warm water passes. Alternatively, they can have electrical wires or coils attached to the panels, which will melt the snow and ice upon warming enough.
5. Trimming the Back Tree Branches
If you have tree branches hanging over solar panels that need trimming to avoid obscuring the sunlight, they can hold layers of snow that can fall on your home’s solar system. So, if you notice tree branches hanging over your roof, pruning and trimming are the best ways out.
Tips to Keep Snow Off Solar Panel
While cleaning snow off solar panels can be a rather tiresome process, having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve can help. We have listed a few such tips on how to keep snow off solar panels:
- You can install solar panels on a flat roof but it is advised to Install solar panels at an angle of a minimum of 35 degrees. That makes it easier for the snow to melt and slide off. Refer this guide to understand the best solar panel installation angles.
- If you live in an area prone to high snowfall, install a snow guard. Snow guard ensures snow falls off gradually, saving someone (you and your family) or something (like a solar panel) from an icy surprise.
- Assess the risk of cleaning snow off solar panels before you do it. Consider the wintery conditions, and if it seems too risky, think of consulting a professional.
When clearing snow off solar panels is concerned, doing nothing and waiting is the best action. But if you feel compelled to clean the snow, following the tips and techniques outlined here will be of much help. The most important thing in the ordeal is your and your family’s safety, so keep safety concerns before everything. We hope this article on how to remove snow from solar panels helped you understand the workarounds for removing snow from solar panels. Good luck!