In this article we will talk about solar panels and snow. A priori we could think that if snow falls on a solar panel it would stop producing completely, but the reality is not like that, and that is that if the snowfall is light and does not set, sunlight can continue passing through and reaching the panel to generate electricity.
Solar panels and snow
A different case is when the snowfall produces a significant accumulation of snow, which is what we will all be thinking about. Well, let’s see what would happen in that case and what are the 5 most frequent doubts about the accumulation of snow on solar panels :
How snow affects solar panels
When an abundant layer of snow covers our panels, it blocks the passage of sunlight and therefore they stop producing energy. But unless we live in an area where snow falls permanently, we should not worry too much about this , since in the global balance your solar production will be compensated with the days in which you will be able to get all the production performance , especially in the event that you have a self- consumption installation with surplus compensation .
Can the weight of snow damage solar panels?
A very heavy snowfall that produces a significant accumulation of snow on our solar panels will affect production while they are fully covered but will not damage them (as long as they are quality panels and have a 25-year production guarantee).
Solar panels are designed to withstand inclement weather and therefore support the weight of heavy snowfall. During their design and manufacture, they are subjected to pressure tests to evaluate their durability and quality.
Should we remove snow from solar panels?
A priori , it is not the most recommended if you do not have a series of very important basic precautions and the appropriate equipment to do so.
Although the first impulse is to clean our panels to maximize production after a heavy snowfall, it is an operation that should be done with great caution and always avoiding the use of rakes, shovels or metal elements that could damage our solar panels . To this we should add that our panels are usually on the decks and roofs, so if we already have to take extreme precautions when we do it on a sunny day, with the snow we have to increase it much more . security measures.
The risk to which we are exposed when getting on the deck to clean the panels and the possibility of damaging them when removing the snow make cleaning them not the most advisable thing to do, especially considering that when the sun rises , the snow that covers our panels will disappear before the rest of the roof, so the savings or production that you may have by cleaning the panels before the snow melts does not compensate the risk.
In most cases when the sun comes out after a snowfall the black tempered glass surface of our solar panels heats up before the rest of our roof and will cause them to clear much faster.
Does snow stick to solar panels more?
When designing a photovoltaic installation, the solar panels are mounted at an angle to maximize their exposure to the sun. The combination of this slope along with the slippery glass surface of the solar panels means that the snow does not stick for long.
The dark cells in solar panels are designed to absorb heat from sunlight. Once the panel starts to be exposed to the sun, a small amount of that heat will spread throughout the solar panel and cause the snow to melt faster than the rest of our roof, so it’s not unusual for you to see solar panels cleared while the rest of the roof still has a light layer of snow.
Does snow dirty solar panels?
On the contrary, a snowfall will help clean our solar panels, and the dirt that our panels may have will adhere to the snow and when it melts it will take it with it, thus making your solar panels work more efficiently .
If you have in mind to invest in a photovoltaic self-consumption installation for your home or your company, contact Cambio Energético. We will advise you on everything you need about new legal and technical developments, and if you contract your installation with us, we will take care of all the paperwork you need to start it up. You will also have the official technical service of some of the best international manufacturers of photovoltaic equipment such as Victron , Kostal , Fronius , SolarEdge or Huawei throughout the national territory.
El rendimiento de las placas solares en la nieve
A group of scientists from Sandia National Laboratories in the US is conducting a study to quantify the effects of snow on solar kits and thus identify strategies to reduce energy losses and decreased reliability caused by ice and snow .
Technological evolution and the growth of public confidence in general have led to the installation of solar kits in very cold areas, but the efficiency of solar panels in these environments still has considerable room for improvement . Snowfall is another of the drawbacks that photovoltaic solar panels find to be efficient in these areas; Getting the solar panels to be clear and capable of absorbing sunlight is one of the main objectives of this group of scientists.
The abundant snowfall recorded in the area does not facilitate the work of scientists and the small amount of data produced by photovoltaic systems complicates decision making. To deal with this problem, the nuclear weapons company Sandia National Laboratories has initiated a project to analyze snow as a factor in photovoltaic performance and reliability to quantify the effects of snow on photovoltaic systems, conducting field research at four sites USA _
According to the scientists of this project, snow is not only a problem but also an opportunity for solar energy . The study also highlights that the low temperatures of these regions increased the operating efficiency of solar kits .
This study also highlighted the role of bifacial solar panels in these areas since, thanks to their axes of movement, they allow greater efficiency than normal solar panels also in these areas .