Do I Need to Clean the Snow Off My Panels?
Updated: Jan 14
The cold season is right around the corner, which means you’re probably wondering what to do when those pesky winter storms arrive. After all, the weather in Indiana can be somewhat unpredictable when it comes to whether we get a massive ice storm or the kids get to enjoy a random snow day from school.
The good news? Ice and snow will lower production of your solar panels while they are covered, which means you do not have to clear them after there’s been an accumulation on top.
To help you understand the reasons why, our team of experts here are Morton Solar have put together this brief guide with further information. Here’s why you do not need to clean snow off your panels during the winter.
1. That’s What the Sun Does
The main reason why you do not need to clean ice or snow off your solar panels during the winter is that’s exactly what the sun does. Even a cold day will cause a bit of snow to melt if there’s at least a little sunlight. And stretches of several hours or days at a time ensures it completely disappears without you having to do anything else. In fact, if your panels are installed on your roof, the process will take even less time due to the natural heat rising from the structure.
2. Cleaning Snow from Panels Can Cause Damage
In addition, you want to avoid cleaning snow from panels as it could cause damage to them. There have been many people over the last few years who found this out the hard way, using a rake or shovel to try to dust off the snow. The hard truth is that, while incredibly durable, solar panels can become damaged very easily if you aren’t familiar with them. Thus, it is a better idea to just leave that ice and snow accumulation alone until it melts completely.
3. Getting on Your Roof During Icy Conditions is Dangerous
Besides just the equipment aspect, our Morton Solar team is concerned about your wellbeing, too. When it comes to cleaning ice and snow off solar panels, you need to keep in mind that getting on your roof during icy conditions is dangerous. A fall from those heights could be deadly or cause a significant injury. And it just isn’t worth it for anyone to sacrifice safety for something that will happen naturally anyway. That said, we highly recommend you stay safely on the ground instead of trying to clear snow off your solar panels.
4. You Aren’t Losing That Much Power Anyway
Another thing to remember when it comes to your solar panels and winter weather is that you aren’t losing that much power anyway. When the panels are covered, there’s a good chance that it is a highly cloudy day. While solar can still work during adverse weather, the difference is minimal. But what if it is sunny and your panels are covered in snow? Well, as we mentioned above, give it a little time. The sunlight will help melt it off and you’ll be back to optimum performance in no time.
Understanding the Basics of Solar and Winter
Besides questions about clearing ice and snow from panels during the winter, we also get a lot of questions about whether the systems work as well during the cold months as they do in the summer. The short answer is, no. However, you need to take a few aspects into consideration, too. Winter days are typically shorter and the strength of the sun’s rays is lessened as the rotation of the planet changes. Which is what typically causes seasonal temperature drops in general.
That said, your panels will always work better in June or July than they will in January. However, having solar is still a good way to cut down on your winter heating costs. Even minimal savings are better than nothing, which is why so many Indiana homeowners don’t mind the slightly lower level of energy production during the winter. And also the reason why a slight accumulation of ice or snow on your panels isn’t a huge deal.
Learn More from Morton Solar
Are you ready to find out how switching to solar can help lower your utility costs through the winter? Our team of experts is ready to answer any questions you might have about the process. Please contact us today to receive a virtual consultation or to learn more about what we do.