The winter months may be discouraging to homeowners looking to get into solar. This blog will
touch on everything you will need to know if you are considering solar in places with harsh winters. The first thing to keep in mind is the shorter days during these months. The winter will generally make up a small fraction of your annual production and this is factored into a system’s production estimate when it is initially being designed. This means you do not have to worry if production is lower than the summer, this was all calculated for.
Winter months will bring colder temperatures which is actually beneficial for solar panels. This is a surprise to many people, but cooler temperatures allow the panels to work closer to their peak performance making them slightly more efficient. This is because the panels are least likely to reach their peak temperature, allowing the electron reaction to happen quicker.
How Does Snow Affect Solar Panels? Snow can be another big concern to many people looking at solar systems. However, snow is generally not a huge problem for the panels. The panels themselves generate a small amount of heat and will also absorb the sun's heat, even through snow. This means light snow will simply melt right off the panel. A heavy snowfall that sticks to the panels will eventually slide off due to the angle at which the panels are mounted at. When this happens it also will take off any dust or debris that has collected.
Snowstorms can also be beneficial, when the panels are cleared off, the sun's rays will reflect off the snow and back up towards the solar panels. This happens because of the albedo effect and allows the solar panels to generate even more electricity. Do You Need to Clear Snow Off Panels?
We do not recommend that homeowners clear snow off the modules for a few reasons. You can easily damage and scratch the modules if you are not being careful. Any damage caused to the panels from trying to clear them off is NOT covered under the warranty. In most cases, it is not worth the time and/or the risk you are putting yourself in for a few extra kilowatts. Whether you decide to clear off the panels or not, NEVER get on the roof to do so, this can be extremely dangerous. Another thing to keep in mind is the panels will still generate a small amount of energy if they are still covered in snow. This is because small amounts of light are still able to penetrate through the snow.