We’re coming off our first “snowstorm” of the year. I mean, it was really only a dusting in the grand scheme of things, but accumulation is accumulation, and it leaves a lasting impression (until it melts, of course).
Upon driving my five-year-old to school his little voice barked a question from the backseat that was pretty intuitively proactive. He said, “Pupa, how do the solar panels on our house work if there is snow on them? Should we shovel them off?”
This was a pretty big question from a kid that has hard time deciding between a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets in his Happy Meal…
I think his line of questioning is a common bullet point amongst New Englanders who have not adopted the idea of “going solar” as a viable entity. While it’s true that we in the northeast are subject to winters, which is not an experience bestowed on places like the Arizona’s and California’s of the west, it should not be viewed as a “deal breaker.”
Listen, the facts are the facts; in the winter, the days are shorter. That obviously affects the underlying productivity of your solar array. BUT here are some other fun facts that I expressed to my son upon his inquiry.
Solar is still sound in the winter. While production will dip, we design solar panel arrays that allows for you to achieve freedom from costly utility bills through the means of net metering. You build up a “bank” of clean power when the days are longer and brighter, which will carry you through the winter season.
You do not need to shovel off your panels. Seriously. Don’t. You could damage them, or, worse, damage yourself if you’re up there with your shovel bailing the snow off like you would the driveway. If you do damage a panel, you’re potentially defaulting on some of your warranty benefits. If you damage yourself, well, that could be pretty catastrophic. We’ll leave it at that.
Your panels are basically self-sufficient. If even the smallest of sections is cleared from the panel, through a natural “melting” cycle, or if you gently remove a patch with a non-abrasive roof rake, the array will go to work. Once the panels start producing energy on that bare patch the silicone that fires inside the panel will produce enough “heat” to melt the snow off the entire array. It will literally just fall right off. It also helps that arrays are at a pitch that enables them to “ditch” elements like rain and snow easily.
Solar panels actually prefer cooler weather. It’s true. Solar panels do tend to produce better at cooler temperatures. The hot, direct heat of the summertime sun is hard on the electronics of your array, so the winter months provide a “bit of a break” and call in more efficient energy production. That said (and as we’ve mentioned), the days are shorter, and the sunlight is less direct, so the overall production when you glance at the bottom line will not compare to summertime production.
In conclusion, don’t be scared away from going solar because we get snow in this part of the world. The UV rays of the sun are powerful and will get you producing regardless of the weather. Your biggest winter concern should continue to be whether or not you can get out of your driveway in the morning.
As always, if you have any questions at all, we’re here to assist.
GoSolar today for a brighter tomorrow!