Solar Panel Snow Removal

It’s a constant battle here in the mountains of New Hampshire. As you can see by the picture I took this morning, I’m sure glad that I have my solar panels mounted on ground mounts. Another two inches of “snow showers” overnight.

One of two types of weather events will prompt me to get out the broom and get to work on removing the snow:

  1. A winter snow storm
  2. The nearly constant (but accumulating) snow ‘showers’ or ‘flurries’

I live in the mountains. Mountainous areas have their own unique weather. While a major winter storm will affect a significant part of an overall region, these mountains create pesky snow showers that accumulate over time. This frequently results in an inch here, two inches another day, half an inch the day after that… The next thing you know you’ve got another 6 inches more on the ground after a week of this (without a “snow storm”).

Anyway, it should go without saying, you’re not going to get much of any charge from your solar panels when they’re covered with snow. I don’t care what any sales person may tell you… Charging will be comparatively insignificant with snow cover.

This is (one reason) why I decided NOT to mount my solar panels on the roof. Rather, I built my own ground mounts.

It’s not rocket science. I use an ordinary floor push broom. Pull the snow down from top to bottom.

Once the dark panel surface is partially exposed, the sun will usually enhance the melting – finishing the job. However, if it’s too cold, it’s not going to happen. But eventually it will.

As you can see in the picture below, this morning I swept the panels. But there was still some frozen stuff near the bottom. Today is very overcast and cloudy. 25 degrees. It’s not going to melt. But that’s okay, I’ll still get ‘some’ bit of charge.

There are a number of ways to mount your solar panels. Typically, the solar panels you see on the roofs of houses are simple “Grid Tie” systems. Solar energy is fed back into the grid and you get credit for it. If it snows, no big deal. You’re running off the grid anyway.

However if you’re Off Grid, or have a side-by-side Off Grid energy system with transfer switches (as I do), snow becomes a pretty big deal. Winter is difficult enough with fewer hours of sunlight and low angle sun. Snow just makes it all worse.

So my recommendation to anyone setting up Off Grid solar power, if you’re in a snow zone, consider your solar panel mounting methods with regards to snow removal.

That’s it. Short and Sweet.

By the way, if you have any design questions or interested in battery bank options, you might consider contacting IronEdison.com, one of our sponsors, who does this for free (recommendations)…

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