Solar energy is the most convenient form of alternative energy for domestic and commercial consumption. The great thing about solar power is that the sun is free, and harnessing it does not leave a carbon footprint on the planet. The only challenge related to dealing with solar panels is that they might not be as reliable in the winter as they are in the summer. Learning proper solar panel maintenance when it is cold and snowing will help you lengthen the lifespan and efficiency of your panels.
Solar panels and snow
Since solar panels are made of glass, it is not unusual to worry about the weight which will be exerted by snow as it builds up on the roof during the winter. Most solar panels are made to withstand the pressure of the snow, and they undergo tests to make sure that the glass will not crack when some extra weight is on the panel. The solar panels do come in a variety of pressure ratings, however, and the higher the rating, the more weight a panel can withstand. It is always helpful to have a roof design which allows the snow to slip off the roof as opposed to accumulating on it. You can also have snow removed by a professional when you feel that the buildup is too thick.
Lower energy production in the winter
If the snow covers the solar panel and you do not clear it on time, you will not harness any power during the winter. Note that even though there may be less sunshine during the cold season, the little light that shows during the day does convert into energy. A panel should be installed at a tilted angle so that all the snow which falls on it can slide right off the panel. You can also buy a solar panel snow rake to remove any build-up without scratching or ruining the glass.
The benefits of cold but sunny weather
There is a common misconception that summers are the best for solar panels. Winter months are just as good for the production of solar energy. As long as the panel is not covered in snow, it still will operate well in the winter.
When handled correctly, solar panels can adequately handle your energy needs regardless of the season. Have an expert in solar panel installation and maintenance check and maintain your panels for the best results.