Just as you need to make sure you check on the roof every so often for debris and do a bit of cleaning, snow removal is equally important. If you want your solar panel system to function and continue to produce power throughout the winter season, making sure your panels are free of obstructions is critical. Luckily for most of California, snow isn’t as heavy and is limited to a smaller region. However, if you happen to live in a snowy area regardless of where you live , then the following tips may certainly be helpful.
Do you need to clean solar panels every time it snows?
If your roof is easily accessible, then it’s certainly recommended; however, many rooftops are not easy to get to and can pose great risks to your safety, so for those cases it’s best to just save the snow removal for the aftermath of a heavy snow storm.
What are some different ways to remove snow from solar panels?
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we? The following are 5 methods to remove snow from solar panels. Depending on the type of roof and house, one or more of the options mentioned below may work better than others.
1. Wait for it. Waiting for the snow to melt on its own is the simplest solution for those who own solar panels that are pitched at an angle of at least 35 degrees. In this case, snow will melt and run off on its own – the steeper it is, the faster snow will essentially glide off.
2. Hose it. For some owners spraying the panels above the rooftop is a convenient method, but be advised when it comes to extreme temperature differences. You want the snow to wash off rather than turn into ice.
3. Sweep it. Although this is an option, it’s not the most widely recommended due to its risky nature. For some, roof rakes seem to do the trick, but make sure it’s attached to something like a squeegee to prevent damaging your system.
4. Heat it. I don’t mean blasting your system with fire at all, but some owners have actually been creative by connecting a leaf blower to long plastic air hoses or PVC pipes to either blow snow off the panels or produce warm air that will help melt the snow.
5. Throw a nerf football at it. Gather your friends and have a friendly game of snow panel football! Kidding aside, there has been wide discussion about using a nerf ball to move snow from the panels in order to help snow melt faster. This is probably more probable for snow cases that aren’t extremely heavy.
Some things you might want to avoid doing are putting rock salt, car wax, or even RainX on the snow covered panels. This will probably damage your roof shingles and do more harm than good. Also, NEVER use hot water on your cold panels or you could risk fracturing them!
My best recommendation is always to ask a professional rather than do things on your own. Why? Because the damage caused by experimentation can cost you more than you bargained for and waste your perfectly beneficial investment.
Be safe. Be smart. Be solar bright. Good luck.