Snowstorms, Ice Storms, and Solar Panels, Oh My!

Jan 15, 2021Environment, Solar0 comments

Because bad weather happens in Connecticut, we install solar panels that easily handle snow, ice, heat waves, and more. Here are some of the questions we hear most often about solar systems in the winter:

Will I need to clear snow off my panels?
At some point after a snow or ice storm, your rooftop solar panels will naturally warm and the snow or ice on them will start to melt. Sometimes it acts as a lubricant and releases the snow slides off in a mini-avalanche. If you’re worried about snow falling onto someone or something below, we can install snow guards on your roof. If you choose to remove snow manually (which we don’t recommend), use a special foam snow rake to avoid harming your panels.

Will my solar system produce electricity when it’s covered by snow or ice?
The answer depends on whether enough photons are getting through to your solar cells. If it’s sunny out and your panels are only partially covered, they will produce some electricity.

What will my system monitoring app show when they’re covered with snow?
Because the microinverters require a certain amount of DC voltage to operate, they will not report when the panel is covered by snow, generating a production issue alert.

How much electricity will my solar system produce in the winter?
Your system may produce about 50% less electricity in December and January than in June and July because:

  • There are fewer hours of sunlight each day
  • The sunlight strikes panels at a less optimal angle
  • The panels are sometimes covered with snow or ice

The good news is that we base our solar power system designs on the amount of sun your roof receives year-round, so we account for days when it will be covered by snow (or it’s rainy or cloudy or foggy).

Feel free to contact our consultants with any questions about weather and solar.