Should I regularly clear snow from solar panels?

The winter season has begun and many owners of photovoltaic installations are wondering whether the longer snowfall will significantly reduce electricity production? Is it necessary to remove the snow layer from the surface of photovoltaic panels and how to properly do it so as not to damage the installation?

Snow removal from the surface of photovoltaic modules located on roofs and on the ground may seem child’s play. However, poorly performed snow removal from the top layer of the panel can have serious consequences for the proper operation of the installation photovoltaic.

Snow clearing from solar farms on the roof is dangerous

In the case of photovoltaics mounted on the roof, you have to take into account that access to the panels may be difficult, as is the movement around the photovoltaic panels.

Snow on the roof, under the influence of movement, can slide down during cleaning to the cleaning person.

When we deal with strong icing of photovoltaic panels, excessive scraping or hitting may damage the surface of the module. Simply if we use the wrong tools, we can scratch the glass surface of the modules and leave permanent marks and scratches.

If we decide to use too strong chemicals to dissolve snow and ice, we can destroy not only the modules themselves but also the roof sheathing, leading, among others, to to corrosion and oxidation of the roof protective layer.

Most attempts to mechanically remove snow from PV panels often end up damaging or scratching the surface of the module, which resulted in service intervention and the need to replace the PV module with a new one.

A little snow does not have a big impact on the operation of photovoltaics

The residual snow has little effect on the effective operation of the photovoltaic system, because in winter the days are too short and mostly cloudy.

You have to take into account that a small amount of sunlight reaches the PV modules and this naturally reduces the efficiency of the photovoltaic installation

The selected power of the installation and the forecasted annual yields from electricity production should take into account bad weather and covering the module surface by snow.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the annual energy production in winter is only a few percent in Poland.

Is it worth clearing snow from a photovoltaic system on the roof?

If the owner decides to clear the surface of the photovoltaic module on his own, he should remember that the surface of the module is made of glass, so you need to use a soft material so as not to scratch it.

It is worth bearing in mind that there are no products on the market that are 100% safe, dedicated only to cleaning the photovoltaic installation, so their improper use may lead to damage.

If there is more ice and harder snow, it will not be possible to remove it without any risk of damaging the photovoltaics. You certainly can’t use roof shovels to remove snow, as they can damage the modules;

It is also worth remembering that any attempts to remove snow from photovoltaic modules by using special heating mats or tapes will lead to the consumption of so much electricity that the cost of snow melting will exceed the amount of energy produced by the photovoltaic installation in the autumn and winter period.

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About Alex Marcell

He likes dogs, pizza and popcorn. Already a fanboy of Nintendo and Sony, but today throws anything. He has collaborated on sites and magazines such as GameBlast, Nintendo World, Hero and Portal Pop, but today is dedicated exclusively to Spark Chronicles.

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