What to do if you have snow on your solar panels

By Rachel Levey //

Welcome to another beautiful winter in New England!

As you watch the flakes fall outside, you may be wondering how this frosty white blanket will impact the production of your solar array. You may even be tempted to try clearing off your panels so that you can capture every precious moment of winter sunshine. Here are a few good reasons why we recommend you kick back and enjoy another cup of cocoa instead of battling with nature and gravity to clear off your panels.

First and foremost, any attempts to clear your panels of snow can have a very real personal safety risk. Snow and ice on your panels will melt much more quickly than on the rest of your roof as soon as the sun comes out. This often causes the accumulated snow to slide off your panels in sheets, and you don’t want to be standing below, or halfway up a ladder, when this occurs.

Secondary to your health and safety, is the safety and performance of your panels. Using a roof rake, broom, or other device to clear your panels will likely scratch the surface and could even break the glass. Small scratches and imperfections can negatively impact the performance of your panels over time, and are not covered under product warranties (remember, warranties do not cover damage caused by the homeowner).

If you are concerned about missing out on precious sunlight, remember that the lion’s share of your electrical production comes between March and October (when the number of daylight hours is vast in comparison, and the intensity of the sunlight is greater). At PV Squared, we take this into account when we estimate your system’s annual power output, so there’s no need to be alarmed if your panels are covered by snow in the winter.

If you have a ground mount system, you may want to clear snow away from the ground directly in front of the lower edge of your panels in cases of heavy snow fall. By preventing a pile up of snow in front of your array, you will allow new snowfall to shed completely from the panels. Remember to be careful around your panels, and always keep in mind that any homeowner damage will void the warranty.

If you are still concerned about snow or ice on your panels, we encourage you to give us a call at: 413-772-8788 or email our service team at: service@pvsquared.coop before climbing up on your roof. Now, go put on your slippers, make yourself a cup of something warm and delicious, and enjoy the beauty of the season!