How to Keep Snow Off Your Solar Panels
February 5th, 2021 | By Roger Kuznia
February 5th, 2021 | By Roger Kuznia
In Pink Energy’s northernmost markets of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania, snow is a fact of life in winter. It’s a valid concern to wonder whether solar is worth it during this time of the year. We’re happy to tell you that solar still works in the winter! However, Mother Nature’s big white blanket can hinder the production of your solar panels when covered in snow. That’s why were going to cover solar production during the winter months and ways to keep snow off your panels.
While wintry conditions can temporarily affect your system’s performance, it’s important to note that the goal of your solar energy system is to offset your energy usage over an entire year, not any given day, week, or month. It’s likely that your system will produce more energy during the summer months, when days are longer, and if your utility provider offers net metering, your can benefit from electric bill credits for excess energy produced by your panels. These credits can be used during the winter months to help offset your bill.
Those unable to benefit from net metering may wonder whether solar is right for them. We’re here to tell you that we have a solution to combat a lack of net metering — a solar battery system. Our battery backup system allows for solar energy to be stored, instead of sending the excess energy back to the grid for less than a 1-to-1 credit. In that scenario, that stored energy is more valuable to you, and you deserve to benefit from it! The battery is also helpful because it gives you access to power during outages or can be used to time-of-use rates, when utility companies charge you more for grid energy. Power outages can be more common during the winter months, when snow and ice can wreak havoc on power lines.
But back to the greater discussion about the winter. Solar does work during these colder months. In fact, Jill Barnes, a Pink Energy customer located in western Ohio, was very pleased about her solar system during the winter months.
What can customers do when they encounter snow on their roof-mounted solar panels? There are several things they can do to keep their panels clear of snow, but perhaps the safest and most cost-effective strategy may be to simply let the snow melt. After all, getting on a ladder in wintry conditions may not be the smartest thing to do!
Most solar panels are installed facing south, where solar panels can get the most sunlight exposure each day. The most sunlight exposure means additional melting time during the day. For those with driveways facing north, you know how much longer it takes for that snow to melt as compared to your neighbors across the street, who have a southern-facing driveway.
Another factor working in your favor is gravity. Your panels are installed at the angle of your roof, and as the snow melts, it can slide off. Or in the case of very dry snow, wind may do its job in helping you.
But letting the snow melt is not the only option customers have to keep their panels clear of snow. A roof rake is a potential solution for heavy snow. It comes with a rubberized head designed to clear the snow without damaging the panels. However, it’s important not to scrape the surface of your panels to clean off ice, as that can damage your panels. Getting the majority of the buildup off will allow the sun to do the rest. Just be careful on that ladder!
While snow can temporarily limit your panels’ production, remember that your home is not shut out from power during this time, as the power grid acts as your backup to cover your home’s needs. Your battery also can be of use during these times.
Those who want uninterrupted solar production should check their solar panel warranty6 before using any instrument to clear off their panels.
Please feel free to reach out to Pink Energy at (877) 4-GO-Pink and one of our solar representatives will help you determine whether your home qualifies for solar panels. Don’t be scared off by the snow!