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?
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.
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.
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.
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!