Should you consider removing the snow from your Antioch solar panels?

Should you remove the snow that sits on the solar panels on your Antioch roof? Safety is one consideration but there are more.

Since the panels with most solar energy systems are mounted on pitched roofs, the idea of clearing snow from your Antioch solar panels is generally not the best idea. How to get at the solar panels and accumulated snow is a risky business in the best of conditions. But, since snow and ice can create dangerously slippery surfaces, the hazards of going up on the roof to clear away the snow are dramatic.

Fortunately, the sun works to melt the snow from your solar panels the same as it works to provide the elements of energy when there is no snow. Even when the temperature is below freezing, the sun will melt and evaporate snow.

The process where snow evaporates into a vapor is called sublimation. Actual melting of snow when the temperature is below freezing occurs when the snow is in contact with surfaces that are above freezing though the air temperature is below freezing. In either case, the snow is diminished by the effects of the sun.

One of the nice things about solar panels is that they are mounted on an angle. As the surface of the panels warm, melting occurs at the bottom of the snow pile. Imagine trying to ice skate on the side of a mountain; your skates will hit the surface and you’re off in a hurry. What this means, in terms of your solar panels, is that, with a little help from the sun, the snow will slide off the panels long before the snow completely melts or evaporates away.

Let’s assume, however, that your solar panels are mounted on the ground or that you’re one of those creative people who come up with a safe way to reach the snow on your roof-mounted solar panels. The real answer is ‘DON’T!’

That’s right; don’t sweep the snow from your solar panels. You could damage the solar panels on your Antioch roof. Even if you don’t damage the solar panels, you could void the warranty on the panels. In either case, the economic solution is to let the sun do its thing.

The sun will remove the snow in a reasonably short period of time. Besides, on those other days when the snow wasn’t on the solar panels, your solar panels were accumulating energy credits through NET Metering where the energy company provides credits for energy your solar panels produce but you don’t use. This is when NET Metering dividends pay off.