To maximize your system’s energy production during the winter, there are a couple of things you can do:
After a large snowfall, brush off and expose a portion of each panel
The panels will begin to produce energy and warm up melting the rest of the snow off the panels. For large or roof-mounted arrays, you may want to use a roof snow broom/rake to remove the snow. If the roof rake has a metal end, duct tape a towel around it to protect the glass on the solar panels so they don’t get scratched or cracked when removing the snow. There are also telescoping snow brooms available online that auto dealers use to brush snow off cars that won’t scratch your solar panels.
*Note: Solar panels work best when they are cold. So, if a period of very cold weather is expected, you will see a large benefit from removing any snow from the panels to maximize your energy production. The best hourly production you will have all year is when it is at or below zero!
Familiarize yourself with the monitoring portal for your solar array
Checking the portal occasionally throughout the year will help you to see if any panel is under-producing for any reason other than a known item like a tree, chimney, plumbing vents or another roof pitch that shades it part of the day. If something like a small branch with leaves have blown onto a panel, it will be more obvious if you are familiar with the normal production patterns. If you do see a panel under-producing and nothing is obvious on the panel look for trees that have grown, or a limb now shading more than you would like. This helps you determine which limbs to selectively prune.
*Note: You do not have to brush the snow off, the system will be fine. Only do this if it is safe to do so! The system/monitoring portal does not know the reason you are not producing power, or producing a small amount of power, is there is snow covering it. So it will send an alert. Once the snow is gone if you still have an alert we can then remotely diagnose the issue. But no diagnosis can be done when there is snow covering the panel. Only 10% of your annual solar power produced is during the short overcast days of winter. Your production estimates are based upon there being time in the winter when snow will be covering the panels.
Please know we are monitoring your system through the portal and will alert you if we find an issue that needs correcting. If you have any questions please reach out to the Service Department at (248) 923-3456, opt 2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michigan Solar Solutions is a commercial and residential solar installer and electrical contractor that has served the lower peninsula of Michigan since 2007. We have installed thousands of panels and have a happy customer near you, check out what our customers think of us on Guild Quality.