Warm January weather in Southern Ontario has been a bane for snowmen, but a boon for solar panels. With rain cleaning snow from our panels, production will be back up! What do you do when we have a cold, snowy winter? How does snow affect your production, and is there anything you can or should do about it?

How Does Snow Affect My Panels?

Solar panels only produce energy when light hits them. Cloud cover on stormy days, or snow accumulating on the panels blocks the light and reduces electricity output. It isn’t a big problem on FIT systems (like CED Co-op’s portfolio) or grid-connected systems. These are designed with the whole year in mind, and their energy production in the summer balances the low points in the winter. Off-grid systems, where solar is the only source of power, may run into trouble with too many snowy days limiting their production.

Should I Remove Snow From My Panels?

Only if you really want to show them off to your neighbours. Getting up on a roof and brushing off panels in the winter can be dangerous, and if you aren’t careful you could scratch the panels. It’s a much better idea to let nature take its course. When the sun eventually comes out your panels will heat up and the snow will melt off.

But I Really Want To Make As Much Electricity As Possible!

Then knock yourself out. But remember, we get very little winter sunlight in Ontario. The small boost in energy production probably isn’t worth the hassle. Your system was sized with this in mind. If you really want to tackle this project, then tread carefully and only use a soft roof broom with a rubber lip. Never use metal, which can scratch and damage your panels.

What Else Should I Know About Winter And Solar Panels?

Here’s a little good news – cold weather is better for solar panels! The warmer they get, the less efficient they are, so don’t worry about cool days. As long as the sun is shining, you are producing clean, green energy!

If you have any questions about snow and solar panels, get in touch. We work with amazing solar installers who would be happy to help you out!

One Response

  1. The operation of a network photovoltaic station gives an opportunity to look at this problem from a different angle. If the snow is not strong, the panel temperature is sufficient to melt the snow instantly. During strong snowfall, when the panels are completely covered, you should not immediately grab your head and clean the panels. A couple of days of sun – and the snow will begin to roll down, when the panels are partially cleared, they will begin to warm up, which will lead to further cleaning. For those few days, during which the panels will be under a layer of snow, the so-called “underflow” from the station downtime will be minimal. Therefore, whether to clean or not, everyone decides for himself whether it’s worth it.

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