You want your solar panels to work well at all times. They allow you to turn on your TV, wash clothes and even cook dinner without spending a dime on electricity. But what happens in winter? Well, if you are in an area that receives snowstorms, your power production will suffer. Snow laying over your solar panels will prevent them from generating the electricity output you want. So what do you do in such a situation? There are certain techniques you can apply to get rid of that sneaky snow over your panels and make them energy efficient even during the winter months.
Wait And See
The first technique used to get rid of the snow blocking your precious panels is called wait and see. Yes, you read that right. Just wait. Depending on the region where you live, clear skies often appear after a blizzard is over. Since solar panels consist of slippery glass, as soon as any area gets exposed to sunlight, it will heat up the rest of the panel, getting rid of the snow. One or two sunny days are all you need for that pesky snow to slide off and disappear. That is the likely scenario if your rooftop solar system is at a steep pitch (over 35 degrees). In other words, the wait and see technique only works well if the roof pitch is steep enough to let the melted snow slide away.
Use The Hose
If the wait and see method is not enough to eliminate the snow or if you are in a real hurry to get your panels up and running to 100% efficiency, you can always hose it down. By applying moderate water pressure to the panels, you may remove any remaining snow. Now, you must be aware that if the temperature is below the freezing point, you will only add a layer of ice over the snow, which as you may imagine, it’s a way bigger problem. Don’t use the hose unless the temperature is above the freezing point.
Sweep It Away
Another technique to clean your panels is sweeping. You don’t need fancy devices or complex processes. Just use a roof rake and say goodbye to the snow. It’s important to remember though that any standard roof rake won’t cut it. You have to be sure that the end of the rake consists of a squeegee type device that won’t scrape your panels, or you will most certainly damage them. Also, don’t try to sweep the panels unless you have a flat rooftop. Steep roofs are too dangerous especially when they are slippery.
Extend The Sweeper
You can improve the sweeping method by attaching a long pole to a squeegee. Then, you sweep the panels from the ground. While it’s safer than jumping over a steep roof, it can still be risky. If you stay too close to the house, several pounds of snow might fall over your head, injuring you in the process. You don’t want that to happen.
Play With a NERF Ball
You can throw a NERF ball to the panels to remove patches of snow. The theory behind it is that as the spongy ball rolls over the panels, it will clear some snow which will allow sunlight to be absorbed and heat the rest of the area.
As you can see, winter doesn’t have to hinder your power generation capabilities. Even after a heavy snowfall, there are ways to get your solar panels in top shape right away. If you don’t want to call a professional, put the methods to good use. Whether it’s just waiting it out, hosing it or rubbing it off with a rake, the snow won’t remain a problem for long. Assess your situation carefully and apply the strategy that best suits your needs.