Believe it or not, winter can actually improve the efficiency of your solar energy system. In fact, studies have shown that cold temperatures can help panels absorb a record amount of energy due to the Albedo effect. However, solar panels can’t benefit from this effect if they are buried under a mountain of snow. Naturally, you might ask yourself — what’s the best way to clear snow off my solar panel? In this article, we’re going to explore just that and figure out how people can clear snow off their solar panels safely.
Wait Until Snow Melts
It might sound counterproductive, but waiting until the snow melts can be a solution, depending on the specifics of your system. If your rooftop solar panels are installed at a relatively steep tilt of at least 35 degrees, chances are that snow will slide off quickly. Not only that, but in some regions, snowstorms are followed by multiple pure blue-sky days, which accelerates the melting process.
Use a Squeegee
Sometimes, waiting for the snow to melt is not feasible. That’s why you can always use a squeegee or a flat-bladed shovel to scrape snow and ice from your panels. Just try not to use too much pressure, or you could end up damaging your modules. Additionally, avoid using heavy-duty steel wool, as it can scratch the surface of your photovoltaic cells, reducing their efficiency.
Use a Snow Blower
If you own a snow blower or similar snow throwing device, you can use them to get rid of accumulated snow and ice. But remember to be careful when blowing the snow; otherwise, you could end up throwing it in your neighbor’s yard. Furthermore, make sure that no debris falls onto your solar panels, such as tree branches or rocks.
Use a Roof Broom
Roof brooms feature telescoping handles that allow you to reach the far ends of your roof. As a result, you can use one to scrape off ice, snow, and other debris. But you’ll have to use a soft-bristled broom to avoid scratching your solar panels. You should also stay several feet away when cleaning snow off your panels, so you don’t risk getting hurt by the falling snow.
Use a Roof Rake
As the name suggests, roof rakes are designed to remove ice, snow, and other buildup from roofs. Therefore, you can also use them to clear snow off your solar panels. However, similar to squeegees and roof brooms, you shouldn’t use too much pressure, or you could end up scratching your panels.
Use a Heat Source
Another effective way to remove snow is to apply warm air to your panels to speed up the melting process. The trickiest part is to figure out how you are going to do it without damaging your panels. One way is to rig up a long line of plastic air hoses from your leaf blower. Thus, you can blow snow off the panels while helping melt any stubborn snow or ice buildup.
Use a Nerf Ball
This method involves throwing a spongy softball on your solar energy system to get the snow off. Though this might not work for all systems, it can be an effective way to remove a few inches of snow and allow nature to get rid of the leftover ice.
Use a Garden Hose
Lastly, you can use a garden hose to spray off moderate amounts of snow that you need to remove. You can combine this method with an extension pole by attaching the hose at the end of it. That way, you can spray off snow and then remove any debris. However, it’s not recommended to use this method when temperatures are below the freezing point, as you could encourage ice to form on your panels.
So, What Method Should I Use?
Snow can be a real problem for your solar panels, especially if you live in an area with frequent snowstorms. Luckily, there are many ways you can get rid of it. While some are more effective than others, it’s worth giving each method a shot in order to enjoy all the benefits of owning solar panels during the cold season. And, if you need more advice regarding the health of your solar panels, you can always check out Atlantic Key’s generous blog section!
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