Solar Panel Snow Removal

| 2/16/2011 9:52:24 AM

Tags: solar, snow removal, morning chores, off-grid, Cam Mather,

I just did a questionnaire for a profile that will be published in Mother Earth News Magazine. One of the questions had to do with my “daily chores.” I filled out the questionnaire in the evening and managed to forget all about one of my most important morning chores around here during the winter – cleaning the snow off of my PV panels! Recently we had a big snow overnight so it was a priority first thing the next morning. While it’s true that a day of sun will usually melt most snow off of the panels, I am obsessive about energy, so as soon as the sun hits my panels I want them to be free of snow or anything else that might reduce their efficiency by even a single watt!

 first tracker 1  

 The first tracker that my neighbor Ken designed and built for me is easy to clean off. It’s nice and low to the ground and a regular wide broom works fine. As Ken refined his design he decided to make the second tracker much higher. Initially I told him that I didn’t like it so high, but after we’ve had a lot of snow and the piles get high enough to shade the first tracker, he reminds me why he built the second one higher. I can’t argue with logic.

first tracker 2 

The second tracker is higher and the panels are larger (175Watts vs. 75 on the lower tracker) so it’s much harder to reach. I used a long piece of scrap wood from my neighbor Don Garrett’s woodshop and screwed a firm bristled wide broom head on to it. It does a great job. I also fashioned some hangers on the back of the tracker so that I can keep track of the brooms.

 second tracker 

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