Are Your DIY Solar Panels Affected by Snow? Posted on 02 Nov 07:30
High-quality DIY solar panels can handle the freezing temperatures of winter. In fact, photovoltaic modules actually function better in the cold.
Snow, however, is not a friend to your solar array. Let it pile up, and you’re likely to see higher electric bills this winter. Consequently, it’s important for you to know why — and how — to take care of snow on your photovoltaic panels.
What Happens When Snow Falls on Your DIY Solar Panels?
To generate electricity, photovoltaic panels must be exposed to sunlight. Snow blocks the sun from reaching the array, reducing its energy output. Even a relatively light snowfall can significantly reduce the amount of electricity your solar panel system produces.
Your DIY solar array is probably connected to the utility grid, so you won’t be left without power when snowy weather hits. But if you don’t clear away the snow, you will be left shelling out more money to the utility company.
How to Get Rid of Snow Accumulation on Solar Panels
The angle and orientation of your photovoltaic panels can help snow melt and slide off. If it doesn’t melt on its own, however, you’ll need to help it along.
Climbing up on your roof to access your solar array can be dangerous, particularly when it’s snowy and icy. The solution? A roof rake. Essentially, a roof rake looks like a wide hoe with a long, angled handle. Many have telescoping handles or extension rods, allowing you to easily sweep the snow off of your DIY photovoltaic array.
Choose a roof rake with a soft, squeegee-like edge. Otherwise, you could risk damaging your solar panels. Also beware of hazardous chunks of ice or blocks of snow falling as you use the tool.
To be safe, you can hire a pro to come in and handle this job for you. A local snow removal company can quickly get rid of the snow on your DIY solar array.
How NOT to Remove Snow from DIY Solar Panels
First of all, never use hot water on your photovoltaic array in the winter!
Hot water can cause the cold solar panels to fracture. Hosing them down with cold water isn’t a good idea, either, as the water can freeze and turn your snow problem into an ice problem.
Also, don’t be tempted to try snow-melting products like rock salt or glass treatments like Rain-X. These products aren’t recommended for use with photovoltaic panels, and they could do more harm than good.
Make sure you’ve read your manufacturer’s warranty also. You could unwittingly void your warranty by using prohibited products or snow-removal techniques on your photovoltaic panels.
Keeping your panels clear can help you avoid hefty utility bills this winter, but installing a DIY solar kit at your home will cut — or even eliminate — your power bills for decades.
Solar GOODs is the premier online do-it-yourself solar superstore. Visit our website today to learn more about how much you can save with a DIY solar panel system.