6 Safe Solutions For Solar Panel Snow Removal - Snow Rake Solar Panels

6 Safe Solutions For Solar Panel Snow Removal - Snow Rake Solar Panels

Jan 19th 2023

Are you looking for how to get snow off of solar panels? Finding the right snow broom for your solar panels is a must in winter. The average solar panel supports hundreds of points of snow load. While the panel does stress the support structure, the weight of the solar panel snow isn’t usually a problem.

Why Is Solar Panel Cleaning Important?

Solar panel snow removal is a key component of proper maintenance and upkeep. Snow accumulates rapidly in the winter months, particularly in areas with heavy snowfall. When accumulated on the surface of solar panel systems, this snow can quickly block sunlight from reaching the panels and reduce solar panel energy efficiency.

The longer it takes to be cleared off, the more energy will be lost and money wasted due to reduced output and increased power costs. Regularly clearing off the snow from the panels helps protect your investment in them but also helps ensure that you are getting the most out of your solar energy system.

In addition to blocking sunlight from reaching the panels, unchecked snow can also create substantial damage to them. It can become compressed over time, leading to cracks or other forms of wear-and-tear that could decrease their functionality or even render them unusable.

Advantages of Clearing Snow From Solar Panels

Clearing snow from solar panels can offer a range of benefits for those who rely on renewable energy sources. By removing the snow, more light can reach the cells, enabling them to generate electricity at peak efficiency.

Additionally, if snow isn’t cleared regularly, it can form an insulating layer on the panel’s surface, further reducing its output. This insulation can also lead to overheating and damage over time.

Furthermore, clearing any accumulated snow also helps maintain a clean aesthetic for your solar installation. Not only does this make it so that you don’t have to look at a pile of snow on top of your panels, but it also ensures that they remain visible so that you can easily recognize signs of potential damage or wear and tear.

Also, depending on where you live, large amounts of accumulation may start to weigh down your roof or hardware, leading to serious structural issues. You need a reliable tool before you can clear solar panels.

Steps to Safely Remove Accumulated Snow From Solar Panels

Removing accumulated snow from solar panels is critical for ensuring that the panels can continue generating optimum solar panel energy output. It is important to take extra safety precautions when performing this type of task, as it involves being on a slippery and potentially dangerous rooftop.

First, inspect the area around the panel before beginning any work. Make sure there are no power lines or other hazardous objects nearby. If possible, use an extension pole and brush attachment to dislodge snow from the panel surface. This helps reduce the risk of slipping and falling and minimizes potential damage to the panels.

Finally, if you must climb onto the roof to clear away snow, always wear non-slip shoes and consider using a safety harness secured to an anchor point. Once safely up there, be very careful where you step and move slowly to avoid any unexpected slippage or sliding.

Furthermore, frozen precipitation can add a heavy weight to your roof and gutters; this extra weight can increase stress on your roof, which may lead to structural damage or leaks over time. It is, therefore important to take proactive measures whenever possible by regularly removing any accumulated snow from your solar panels before more serious issues can arise.

Avoid Solar Panel Hibernation

The real issue is that solar panels hibernate and don’t produce any power when they're covered in snow. In these cases, your solar panel energy output plummets. It’s important to clear the panels quickly and safely before ice forms and prevents snow from sliding off the panels.

The panels have delicate surfaces that would be damaged by harsh brushes, hard roof rakes, or metal-edged shovels. The snow removal tools that work for pavement, shingles, and car windows will damage panels and put a stop to generating power. Instead, you need a proven scratch-free winter tool that can protect your panels.

Businesses, retailers, and consumers with solar arrays tackle solar panel cleaning with solutions like these:

Solution #1: Wait It Out

The most common method for how to get snow off of solar panels is generally to just wait. The snow might melt, blow away, or slide off on its own. However, roof mounted panels will create snow banks at the bottom of each panel that quickly grow and block new snow from sliding off the panels. This can put the panels into hibernation for long periods of time and lose their owners significant amounts of money.

Significant snowfall can also create a risk of an avalanche that lands on objects below. Be prepared on the ground and move lawn furniture or block walkways that could be damaged by a sudden slide—or use another method to remove snow from solar panels. So how do you clean snow off solar panels?

Solution #2: Use a RoofBrum

SnoPro Solar Panel photo-1

If your panels are covered with snow, they are not producing energy. A traditional roof rake, shovel, or snow brush aren’t safe. You could damage the panel or void your warranty with improper care. The best solution is a soft, foam-headed snow broom, which won’t damage the delicate surface of the panels as it removes the snow.

Solar panels are in safe hands with a tool that received the highest possible ratings for non-abrasiveness in independent laboratory testing and approval for use on “Class A finishes.”

Our winter line of snow removal tools uses gentle, non-abrasive heads made out of durable cross-link polyethylene foam. When it comes to vehicles, SnoBrum has earned its place as a preferred option for businesses and consumers over more than 25 years. 

Each of the foam heads features a standard Acme thread so any extension handle will fit the product. For harder to reach panels on high roofs, we recommend the Mobile RoofBrum.

Many solar panel owners rely on a foam snow brush like the RoofBrum for clearing vehicles, but it’s got a robust market for use on clearing delicate surfaces like solar panels, awnings, and spa covers, too. There’s a reason it’s stocked year-in and year-out in stores across the USA.

Solution #3: Install All-Weather Panels

This fix is part of a pre-installation plan. There are specially made solar panels that can use a small amount of gathered energy to heat the panel’s surface and melt solar panel snow before it builds up. In a snowy climate, this is a great investment for how to remove snow from solar panels on your roof. Your solar panel energy efficiency tends to be higher with the all-weather variety.

Solution #4: Clean Your Solar Panels Year-Round

There are clear studies proving that dirt, dust, and pollen affect solar panel power generation. The RoofBrum Snow & Wash Kit can help you keep your solar panels in peak condition year-round, in winter or summer.

Solution #5: Reorient Your Array

If a storm is coming and you have some ability to adjust the solar panels (angle, orientation), or if you’re thinking ahead during the initial installation, it’s possible to mitigate some risk of snow accumulation. A southward-facing array will get more sun during the winter months, which helps accelerate melt-off as the panels soak up more warmth. A steeper angle would also make it harder for the snow to build up and encourage it to slide off before there’s too much.

Solution #6: Hire a Professional

It would take a bit of an investment, but should the situation grow serious, there are snow removal services that will know how to remove snow from solar panels on your roof. Trust professionals to have the right snow removal tools to handle it without damaging the panels.

Key Takeaways

To clear solar panel systems of snow are essential to ensure these clean energy sources are maximized and that potential damage does not occur. Clearing away the snow as soon as possible using safe methods is key for maintaining proper system functioning throughout the winter.

There are also outside resources available for those looking for extra assistance. For example, hiring a professional service to do it for you or choosing a suitable product to make your job easier. 

Next time you ask yourself "how do you clean snow off solar panels?" just remember the RoofBrum!

If you're planning on keeping your large truck or trailer snow-free, make sure to check out the SnoPro and ProEdge for an easier winter.

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