If you power your home with solar energy you know that there is less daily sunshine in winter. This means that the solar cells produce less energy throughout the winter.
In winters like this year there’s another factor that reduces the energy production of solar cells: snow covered solar panels. Sunlight is able to penetrate a thin layer of snow and melt it away. But what about a thick snow cover?
Most people know how to shovel their driveway. But how can you keep solar panels snowfree?
One simple solution is to keep the panels tilted 40 degrees or higher. This will keep much of the snow from sticking. Or, if you prefer, you can do it like Alan Stankevitz in Minnesota and create your own winter-long chore of shoveling snow from the solar panels. (photo by Alan Stankevitz).
The German company Spray-away produces cleaning-systems for photovoltaic units. This system is kind of like a windshield wiper for your panels. It’s powered by an electric motor which can be started manually.
If it sounds like winter is a downer for solar enthusiasts, there are two positive things about solar panels in winter: sunlight reflected off nearby snow increases solar absorption and solar panels work better in cold temperatures.
On bright winter days with freezing temperatures solar panels can even produce more energy than the design specification stipulates.