Snow on roof but not on panels
Solar Investment Tax Credit

I’ve got snow on solar panels…

Most of us are thrilled when the snow falls. Yet we’ve heard questions from some solar homeowners about the effect of snow on their systems. What should you do about snow on solar panels?

Should I remove snow from my solar panels?

We don’t recommend it. Some people choose to clear their arrays in order to maximize production after a storm or to reduce snow load. We caution anyone doing this to be very careful. Be sure not to scratch your panels by using a soft roof rake instead of a metal one, be careful not to bump the electrical components by staying away from conduit and the underside of the solar panels (the 25-year panel warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by the homeowner). Plus, getting up on a snowy roof would risk you getting hurt, which nobody wants. Take care of yourself too! In most cases, when the sun comes out after snowfall, the tempered glass black surface of the solar panels will heat up and clear itself much faster than the rest of your roof. We design our solar systems with heavy snowfall in mind. All our arrays (roof, ground, and canopy) are engineered to withstand the worst that Northeast winters can throw at them.

But aren’t my solar panels supposed to be making electricity?

Your production will decrease in the winter when your solar is covered with snow. (Don’t worry, this is more than taken care of by the long sunny summer days.) When SunCommon’s engineering team designed your system and determined how much electricity it would produce, we factored in the amount of sunlight your home receives over the course of a year and took snowfall into account. Not to worry if you have snow on solar panels, you’ll catch up when the sun again shines brightly. 

Is it true the solar panels produces more efficient electricity on clear, snowless winter days? And why?

Yes. Solar panels do produce better at cooler temperatures! Heat is hard on electronics in the summer, so the winter months provide more efficient energy production. Even with that fun fact though, the shorter days, snowfall, and less direct sunlight are real factors in determining winter PV potential. We calculate year-round production so that you can count on your over-production during the long, summer days helping carry you through the winter. This is thanks to our ability to net meter with the utility companies!

How does solar work?

So, what is net metering? I thought it was too cloudy in the Northeast to have solar panels? Do I still pay a utility bill? The basics of solar are relatively simple. We’re here to help. Find out how solar works by clicking below.

Our panels were snow covered for most of our first winter after going solar, but because SunCommon sized our system correctly, we racked up enough credits during the year that we ended up only paying $25 for the year to the utility.
Elizabeth WagnerFairfax, VT

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