DIY





Does Snow Affect My Solar Panels?


| 12/17/2015 10:07:00 AM


Winter-Weather Solar, Explained

Winter weather solar explained

Memories of cold, snowy winters past can be discouraging even for the hardiest homeowner. If you’re considering going solar, you might wonder whether solar panels can produce electricity in wintry conditions. After all, if you look at solar as an investment, then it should be able to generate returns throughout the year as other investments do. Luckily, plenty of people have both solar panels and snow, and some of the most popular regions in the U.S. for solar have snowy winters. Don’t let winter weather discourage you from going solar!

'Winter-Weather Solar' Isn’t an Oxymoron

You don’t have to live in Phoenix or Los Angeles to achieve strong solar panel performance. As you consider solar panels for your home, remember that even if you live in the northern parts of the U.S., the worst of winter only lasts three months, so your days of low sunlight and heavy snow are limited. And the further from the equator you are, the longer your days are when the summer comes around—so while you may generate slightly less power in the winter months, you can make up for it with more sunshine in the summer.

What Happens to My Solar Panel Performance in Snow?

Solar panel snow problems are usually minimal. However, there are a few things that you should know about the implications of winter weather as you consider installing a solar energy system on your home:

1. All solar panels are designed to bear a certain amount of weight – and snow will usually not be heavy enough to cause issues. All solar panels undergo pressure tests to assess durability and quality. Ratings vary by panel, with higher pressure ratings indicating that your panels are better at withstanding the weight of heavy snow.



2. If snow covers your panels, they can’t produce power – but it’s easy to clean them off. Solar panels need sunlight to produce power, so if your solar panels are covered in snow, they will not generate electricity. Most panels are tilted at an angle, so snow will slide off on its own accord, but that can take time. You can take control of the situation by getting a solar panel snow rake or similar tool made for solar panel snow removal that won’t damage the panels.



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