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?

No. We recommend against getting up on your roof to wrestle snow off your panels. The panels are dark and gather enough sun to eventually melt the snow, which will slide off the slick glass surface. Swinging a rake or shovel up there could harm a panel or catch on a roof-mount. And of course the 25-year panel warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by the homeowner. Plus, getting up on a snowy roof would risk your getting hurt, which nobody wants.

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

Between the scant sunlight during our short winter days and the occasional snowfall, cold months in the Northeast don’t yield much electricity compared to the power that pours off your roof from the bright summer sun. So no, when you have snow on solar panels, we don’t expect the panels to be producing. Remember that the way net-metering works is that you store up credits for the power you make and then draw them down when the sun isn’t shining. 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.

Well, what if I want to squeeze all the electricity out of my solar panels that I can?

You’re of course free to knock yourself out. But for all the effort and danger of clearing off your solar panels a few days before Mother Nature would do the work for you, they’d generate the equivalent of only a partial day of summertime electricity production. Again, your system was designed with our winter darkness and snow cover in mind.

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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