Your solar panels capture light and convert that light into clean power for your home. Even on a snowy day there is light to be captured and while there may not be as much light as a completely sunny day your system will be generating power. It is not uncommon for snow to accumulate and cover the panels in the winter months. While this is sometimes a concern to homeowners there are a few things to remember…
• Unlike your cold, gritty roof shingles your solar panels have a slick surface that produces warmth during the day. Snow will melt off your panels more quickly than many other outside surfaces on and around your home.
• Melting snow will clean away dust and seasonal debris
• Photovoltaic cells are unaffected by cold temperatures
• Panels protect your roof surface from the deterioration caused by rain, snow and UV light.
In extremely harsh winters, snow may remain longer than the typical overnight or two day drift. Wet snow may stay for days. The combined weight of snow and panels is safely distributed over the span of the array. This is a critical determination of the inspection and design process. In New York State there are many approvals required prior to the installation of a solar system including the issuance of a Building Permit by the local municipality. The weight capacity of the roof and other safety factors are addressed during system design by the contractor’s engineering team and must pass the rigors of the approval process before they can be permitted and installed on a home.
For decades, solar panels have been deployed in Antarctica and on orbiting satellites to generate power and have done so in temperatures and conditions that homeowners will likely never encounter. A thorough solar audit and analysis prior to installation will take your regional environment in to consideration in any statements of production and reliability.
Panels will degrade over time due to normal seasonal temperature cycles. This will make your panels less efficient and produce less power over time. If you are looking for the greatest and most reliable production less affected by weather conditions it is a good idea to look for premium panels that have a degradation rate well below 0.50% per year.
No matter the weather or the season, there is sunlight out there. Solar panels have been converting sunlight into clean, low cost electricity for homeowners for decades, even in snowy neighborhoods.