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solar panel snow guards

Solar power in the winter: do I need snow guards?

Humans have devised an innovative way to capture the abundant radiation from the sun and convert it into energy. The technology involved is solar cells, which are then combined to make a solar panel.

As ingenious while this innovation is, it is designed for people living in sunny areas of the planet. For the Californians and the Texans.

But what about those people living in the regions of America with foggy winters? Does it is good to have solar panels if they are covered in snow? Are solar panels useless in winter? Keep reading to know!

Do solar panels work in winter?

Short answer – yes, they do. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Provided that there is sunlight falling on the panels, it doesn't matter how cold or hot it is. In reality, photovoltaic (PV) solar panels operate more efficiently when it's cold.

This is because, like all electrical appliances, solar panels operate better in colder temperatures.

 When solar panels are being analyzed for their maximum output, the testing is completed in a cold 5°C (41°F). It's in these colder temperatures that solar panel system output is at its best.

Manufacturers rate their solar panels for peak temperatures. It's the temperature beyond the efficiency of the solar panels starts decreasing

. When the temperature of the panels increases above that peak temperature, their efficacy for generating electricity decreases.

 In the winter, it is less likely for solar panels to reach their peak temperature. Hence, they're more likely to be working at peak efficiency.

This improvement in efficiency is offset by the fact that there are shorter times (and so fewer hours of sunlight) during winter.

This leads to energy outputs during winter that aren't radically different in the sparks in summer.

A lot also depends upon your geographical location from the equator. Your solar panel demand and the savings you can make will change based on where you're located.

So, your overcoat and woolen socks sporting friends, don't despair. Solar panels operate effectively during sunny winter days.

They also help keep your home warm by lowering the price of your winter bills.

We all know how heating systems drain power and result in extreme bills during winters. Installing solar panels can help you significantly bring down those invoices.

Will energy be produced with snow on solar panels?

solar panel snow guards

If your panels are covered with a thick coating of snow, then no, they won't generate energy. The fantastic news is that snow rarely affects solar panel functionality in real-world problems.

 Here are the factors that minimize or completely cancel out the negative effect of snow on solar panels:

  • Solar panels are often installed at an angle, making it effortless for the snow to slide off. You can always think about getting solar panels with continuous panel monitoring or seasonal panel monitoring. With these two systems, the angle of the panels may change. By making the angle steeper during winters, an individual can maximize the sun rays' angle falling on the panels and make it tougher for the snow to accumulate on them.
  • The dark solar panels bring heat and assist in snow melting. Solar panels are made to draw the sun's rays and snare them. Broadly, solar panels are 20°C (36°F) warmer compared to ambient temperature. Hence, even a glimmer of sunlight can cause the solar panels to begin heating up and hasten the snow's melting.
  • Snow has anti-soiling properties, and therefore if it melts, it takes any dirt on the panels. This is like what happens to snow covering the windshield of your car: when it's allowed to melt, it takes away all of the dirt with it. You wind up with cleaner panels functioning in higher efficiency.
  • Snow can improve the output of your solar panels because of the albedo effect. The aspects wherein a component of the sun's light strikes the earth's surface are reflected into the air. A much greater quantity of sunlight is reflected as it hits some kinds of surfaces, the best example being reflective, white snow. Solar panels surrounded by snow may wind up absorbing double the amount of light due to the albedo effect, thus increasing the solar panels' energy output.
  • If you have to, then you may use snow removal tools. But we urge against it. The possible prospect of injury to yourself or damage to your panels isn't worth it. This solar panel roof rake likely to be specially made for solar panels.

Overall, snow shouldn't dramatically impact solar panels or the way they operate in the winter.

Consider acquiring snow guards for solar panels.

solar power snow guards

This is applicable for areas that get high levels of snowfall. Solar panels shouldn't suffer any damage because of heavy snowfall.

Any solar panel you've got is intended to withstand all sorts of weather, and this includes snow.

Solar panels are built to last.However, it might be good having snow guards on your panels. Snow guards can help prevent any expensive damage or harm.

Why is this? Solar panels, unlike conventional roofing material, don't provide much friction to the snow that accumulates on them. 

 Therefore, if you have had heavy snowfall, big chunks of snow could slide off all at once from the panels. Nobody wants large chunks of ice and snow falling on their possessions, or worse yet, on their nearest and dearest!

Snow guards are great because they're relatively inexpensive, and they allow the snow to fall off slowly.

The bottom Line on solar panels in the winter

Solar panels are very popular in some of the coldest states. Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey are in the top ten destinations for solar panel installation in the nation.

If these countries can make savings with solar, all of us can.

Your power rates determine the value of installing solar panels, not the weather.

Electricity rates are just one of the most crucial factors determining how economically suitable a solar panel installation is.

After all, with sun levels that comparable to Alaska, Germany has become a pioneer in solar installations for more than a decade. In cities such as New York, where the power tariffs are higher; solar panels may end up being extremely rewarding.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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