There’s no doubt that a covering of snow on your solar panels can be frustrating and negatively impact the amount of energy you’re able to receive as a result. However, it’s best that you do not attempt to remove the snow from your solar panels yourself as you risk injuring yourself or damaging the panels.
Solar panels are designed to attract heat, this combined with the way they are pitched to a surface (either on the ground or on the roof) as well as the slippy glass surface ensures that snow doesn’t stick around for long.
✅ Recommended Reading on equipment used to remove snow from your roof.
Can Snow Damage Solar Panels?
The majority of modern solar panels have a support structure with localized stress management points that provide support for the panels when dealing with the weight of snow. If you’re in an area that often sees a large amount of snowfall in the winter this is likely something that was considered during the decisions of the locations and pitch of the solar panels. In fact, snow can sometimes be a benefit to solar panels as it helps to clean and remove any small debris (similar to the windscreen of a car) which could help to further improve your electricity capacity once melted.
If at any point you’re concerned that snow could be damaging your solar panels it’s best to contact the installation team (or consult with another) and the panels manufacturers who may be able to provide you with some clarity and/or solutions.
Can Solar Panels Produce Electricity When Covered In Snow?
When a solar panel is covered in snow it is unable to produce electricity. However, just because you see a large amount of snowfall each year doesn’t mean you should rule out buying solar panels as a long term investment for saving on your electric bill.
The majority of us only see snow for three months of the year. This leaves 3/4 of the year (nine months) of reasonable solar panel performance. I found this calculator to be really useful in understanding the average sunlight for our region on an annual basis and therefore the amount of money we may save by having solar panels installed.
How To Remove Snow From Solar Panels Safely
I understand that having your solar panels covered in snow and unable to generate electricity as a result can be frustrating. However, the majority of solar panel manufacturers and installation advisors recommend that you allow the snow to melt naturally from your panels and do not attempt to remove it yourself.
Solar panel systems on roofs particularly can be both difficult and dangerous to access. While removing snow from a roof can often be easy, removing snow from solar panels requires you to be careful and delicate in order to not injure yourself or damage the panels.
Luckily, snow panels tend to shed snow naturally very well as they are designed to absorb the sun’s heat and are placed in a direction to do so. Ultimately the damage you could cause from attempting to remove the snow (to the panels or yourself) from the panels yourself is likely to far outweigh the money lost from the panels not producing energy for a couple of days.
How To Prevent Snow From Building Up On Solar Panels Again In The Future
Right now there’s no tried and true method for preventing snow from building on snow panels in the future (at least that I’m aware of). While some people have reported the rock salt in the sock method it’s not something I’ve found to be beneficial.
Honestly, as snow causes little to no damage to solar panels and often doesn’t stick around for long it’s not something I’d consider worrying heavily about. If you are worried about your solar panels’ ability to cope with large amounts of snow then it’s best to contact the manufacturer who may be able to advise you on strategies that are specifically suited to your make, model, and fitting.