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Clean and remove snow from solar system – Safe and easy methods for snow removal in winter.

Winter snow is great, but when ice and snow accumulate on solar panels, you should clean the solar system. Usually, average solar panels are protected against snow load, but without a regular snow removal, energy efficiency and performance can be affected. In addition, it is recommended to clean the solar panels in a safe way with the proper cleaning tool. Keep your solar panels clear of obstructions during the winter so they can easily absorb and convert sunlight. Below are some tips that can help make the cleaning process easier.

Why should you clean a solar panel system covered in snow?

clean the solar system on the roof and carefully clean the solar panels in case of ice and snow

Any house or apartment that have a photovoltaic system , can provide clean, green energy without exhaust fumes or emissions. Such an investment pays off in the long run by enjoying environmentally friendly electricity and staying warm without high energy costs. However, this also requires proper maintenance and care of the solar panels, which is a key component to proper upkeep. In addition, snow accumulates quickly during the winter months, especially in areas with heavy snowfall. This can block sunlight from reaching the solar panels, reducing the energy efficiency of the solar panels.

use soft cleaning tools like rags to clean solar system and avoid damage

The longer you do nothing, the more energy is lost, and compromised performance can also increase electricity costs. Therefore, clearing snow can not only protect your investment, but also help you get the most out of your solar energy system. It furthermore still makes sense to remove the snow load in a timely manner so that it does not damage the solar panels. After all, over time, snow can compress, causing cracks or other wear and tear that can impair their functionality or even render them useless. Solar panels covered by snow or ice can take away up to 25% of total production over the course of a year. Snow load can also cause potential power outages during the winter months. To help you prevent all of this, it would be wise to take some of the following steps.

What are the options for snow removal on solar panels?

clean solar system after heavy snowfall and optimize its performance

Automatic snow removal from solar panels is a process that uses a motorized device to clear the panels of snow and ice. This device usually consists of a brush or blade attached to a robotic arm. The arm is mounted on top of the solar panel and rotates to remove all the snow.

clean your own solar system with simple and quick methods for snow removal

If you do not have this option, you can also use a snow rake on solar panels. However, this is not the best method if you want to clean and remove snow from your solar array in the winter. A better option would be to use a motorized device that is specifically suited for snow removal. Still, there are other options available to you and listed below.

Use telescopic broom or rake and clean solar system

use a telescopic broom with extension pole as a cleaning tool for solar panels

The easiest way to clear your solar system of snow is to use a rake or broom with an extension pole. All you need is a squeegee or flat shovel, and you can just start scraping away frozen precipitation. Just be careful not to damage the modules with your tools. For this purpose, you should not use heavy-duty steel wool, as it will scratch the surface and can damage the solar panels. When sweeping snow, you should choose a brush with soft bristles to prevent potential damage.

during the winter season use your own means to clean solar system and remove snow from solar panels

In addition, using an extension pole is the most common way to remove snow from solar panels. To do this, attach one end of it to your rake and then hold the other end. This will allow you easy access to remove dirt or piles of snow without having to go there yourself. Be careful not to bump the solar panels with sharp objects, and don’t forget to put on safety glasses when working in high places near glass.

Treat solar panels covered with snow with a pressure washer or snow blower.

clean dust and dirt accumulation on solar panel using high pressure cleaner

Using a power tool to remove ice and snow is another alternative you can consider. However, it is recommended to use such tools at the end of the winter season, otherwise they can damage solar panels depending on their type. You should use this method especially if your solar system has dirt deposits. In addition, a pressure washer will help blast away the dirt, and you can wipe the solar panels clean afterwards.

use snow blower to clear snow in winter when solar panels are compromised

If you are considering using a snow blower or other snow blowing equipment for the task, this is also a great option to remove accumulated ice and snow. However, when doing so, make sure that you remove all of the snow from your roof rather than blasting it all over your yard. Additionally, when using this method, make sure nothing falls in the path of your machine or onto your PV system, including falling branches. In addition, trim back branches and tree limbs in a timely manner to allow better access for sunlight.

Use water hose or hair dryer to de-ice solar panels.

in winter sunlight snow thaws by itself and you can clean solar system without any effort

The best option would be to simply wait until the snow melts due to sunlight. However, this can often be difficult because winter is often gray or solar panels are not mounted at a convenient angle. Nevertheless, in such cases it is possible to wait until the height of the snow pile decreases and it slides off by itself. Otherwise, you can also use a hair dryer to thaw snow and ice from your solar panels. This is especially useful because you avoid damage that could be caused by physical contact with a snow shovel or broom. In addition, method has proven to be 97% efficient in melting snow and ice accumulation on solar panels without damaging them.

windshield wiper as a suitable tool for cleaning solar panels

Another option is to also spray the snow off with a garden hose and then use a windshield wiper. This is a much easier option, as you don’t have to worry about how to get within reach or how to hold the hair dryer. The only downside with this method is that it’s not practical if your panels are at an angle where they’re protected from rain, but not accessible for hosing down. If you are looking for something more effective, simply purchase an anti-ice heating cable. This can provide consistent heat through your photovoltaic system during times of accumulation.

Clean solar system and treat with antifreeze

regular maintenance and care of solar panels in winter as recommended measure in case of snow load

In order to prevent iced solar modules, it is also possible to use a natural antifreeze. There are many organic products available on the market that provide an antifreeze solution. These are great for removing snow from solar panels, giving them a shiny new look while increasing their efficiency in generating electricity for your home. Before doing so, however, make sure you scrub the solar panels carefully after using one of these solutions so that no residue from their chemical components is left behind and causes damage later.

Other tips for protecting solar panels

choose location and angle before installing photovoltaic system and increase energy efficiency

Depending on the intensity of snowfall, snow can stay on solar panels for a few days to a week. Proper installation and siting is the first step in protecting solar panels when there is hail, for example. For this reason, it is important to take some precautions. Even one blow can damage your solar panel system and cause costly repairs for uninsured installations.

  • One option is to use a wire gauge as a means of protection. Since hail is like a bullet to solar panels, a wire mesh installed over it can minimize any risks. It also increases the panels’ resistance to hail and impacts in windy weather. The most efficient gauge of wire to install on your panels is a diamond pattern, as hailstones are less likely to penetrate without hitting one of these wires.
  • You can also clean your solar panels and coat them with acrylic sheets. This will give your panels more protection from dust, dirt, leaves, ice and snow.
  • There are also matching covers for solar panels that are effective in winter. By doing so, you will protect all the components inside and prevent rusting during the winter months when there is a lot of moisture in the air. The covers will also help extend the life of your solar panel system if they are made of high quality materials.

So, during intense snowfalls, the most important thing to do is to inspect the panels regularly. If ice and snow accumulate on them, the system can produce virtually no energy. Accordingly, some of the cleaning methods and tips described above, you can use at other times of the year.