Will snow affect the condition of my solar panels?

houses and solar panels covered in snow
With a return of the Beast from the East in the form of Storm Darcy, you may have some concerns over the inches of snow damaging your solar panels.

We answer your questions regarding operating your solar power systems during periods of heavy snow.

Will the weight of heavy snow damage them?

Except in some extreme cases, the weight of snow will not hurt your panels. All solar panels are assigned a pressure rating which measures the amount of pressure a panel manufacturer is willing to guarantee for the integrity of their product. Most panels are rated for a load of 5,000 or more Pascals (Pa), which equates to two to four feet of snow, depending on the snow’s density

Should I clean the snow off my solar panels to improve power production?

Most industry experts recommend you should not attempt to remove snow from solar panels. Doing so may void your solar panel warranty, or worse, you could injure yourself.
In most cases, the sun melts the snow off solar panels much quicker than many think – generally thawing quicker than the ground or even your roof. Ground mounted panels are also often installed at an angle, so when the storm blows through even heavy snow should slide right off.

What does this mean for the amount of energy my solar PV system produces?

When your panels are covered with snow, they won’t be able to produce solar energy. However, losing out on a day or so of production isn’t worth risking your warranty or safety.

Did you know, solar panels actually work better when it’s cold than when it’s warm? Like a lot of electronics, solar systems have a negative temperature coefficient. This means they experience less resistance and can generate more electricity in colder weather. The only reason your system output is less in the winter is because days are shorter.

If you have any questions about using or maintaining your renewable energy installations in extreme weather conditions, please contact the Renewables team via renewables@theafgroup.co.uk or call 01603 881 833.

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