Because they can use the energy from the sun to power your home, solar panels are becoming more and more common. Although solar energy can be captured in both sunny and overcast weather, what happens when it snows? It is important to install a snow guard for a solar panel.
Due to their capacity to absorb solar energy and transform it into electricity that can be used to power your home, solar panels are becoming more and more popular every day.
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Effects of Snow on Solar Panel
So, now the question arises, how does snow affect solar energy production, and will snow on panels make snow accumulation more dangerous? One by one, we’ll go into more detail about each.
Firstly, we cannot ignore the harsh effects of snow on solar panels during extreme winter conditions. In severe cases, these things can hurt your family members or your pet. It can also burst pipes and tear gutters apart.
Snowfall and snowstorms cannot be stopped, nor can they be predicted. Only how the snow falls can be controlled. The only tools that can regulate how much snow falls are snow guards.
Secondly, in the north region, several inches of snow can easily gather on panels’ surface in no time. Here, there is a higher likelihood of obstruction of the solar panels’ production path. This snowfall may result in hazardous snow slides.
Moreover, to be protected from such snow slides snow guards are a good option. Snow guards protect solar PV systems from outside harm and maintain the caliber of energy technology used in PV panels to generate solar energy.
Do you Need A Snow Guard for A Solar Panel?
First of all, to be clear, solar panels do operate during the winter and can function even with a light covering of snow. The inability to access the sun is what prevents solar panels from functioning, not cold weather. If there is a few feet of snow buildup on your panels, they will not be able to absorb the sun, and therefore, they won’t generate power.
You could climb up on your roof to clear the snow, but we advise relying on the grid for a short period of time while you replenish your energy supplies. You could also spend money on snow guards.
To prevent snow from slipping off your panel all at once, the guard will hold it back. If that occurs, it might damage your landscaping, smash into your car, or fall on an unsuspecting bystander. It might also break your gutters.
Snow and ice can melt gradually and naturally slide off your roof thanks to the snow guard. When compared to your roof’s shingles and type, solar panels have an incredibly smooth glass surface, which can provide more surface area for snow to adhere to.
For example, asphalt shingles are designed so that your roof has some friction and that anything that lands on it does not immediately fall right off. As an alternative, some roofs, like metal roofs, will require snow guards even without solar panels due to their smooth surface, which snow would fall right off of.
Are Solar Snow Guards Right for You?
Due to two main factors, the majority of rooftop solar customers won’t need to be concerned about solar snow guards. Rooftop solar is growing in popularity across the nation, with many installations taking place in states like Florida and Arizona that receive little to no snowfall.
Furthermore, even in regions where snow falls during the winter, there is frequently not enough snow to trigger a large avalanche. Snow frequently melts quickly and does not accumulate long enough to lead to a catastrophic release because the surface of solar panels is dark. You only need to be concerned about snow buildup and dangerous snow release in areas where it is likely that there will be large snowstorms that drop several inches of snow in a short period of time.
Snow guards for solar panels, however, are a reasonably affordable improvement. Some homeowners might be sufficiently motivated to spend money on solar snow guards to ensure their system is secure in the event that they do encounter a significant snowstorm. In the end, it might be preferable to pay a little bit more upfront to ensure that none of your property is harmed and that nobody you care about or know is in danger of being hurt by falling snow from your panels.
Solar Panel Snow Guard Options
To safely remove snow from your solar panels, a variety of designs are available. For the best outcome, be sure to discuss complimentary snow guard options with your provider as you select your new solar panels.
Snow fences and clamp-on guards are the two main types of snow guards.
Clamp-on Snow Guards
Clamp-on snow guards can be installed at the edges of your solar panels, or in between panels. These snow guards either allow the snow on the solar panels to melt naturally or gradually release small amounts of accumulated snow. Keep in mind that your ability to produce solar energy will be reduced during the snowy months if you choose a snow guard that holds snow for melting.
Alpine SnowGuards are mounted on the solar panel frame using a clamp that screws on, securing the snow guard and preventing it from moving. Snow guards from Alpine are offered in two models and are constructed from recycled materials.
The Solar SnowMax can be installed on both portrait and landscape solar panels and maintains a low profile to allow your solar panels to continue collecting energy. This snow guard is ideal for homes in regions with moderate snowfall because it has a maximum snow capacity of 50 pounds per square foot.
The Solar Snow Pad
The Solar Snow Pad allows snow and ice to build up, slump, and slowly slide off a panel’s surface in an orderly fashion. For solar arrays that are installed closely together, these snow guards use a T-nut clamp installed in the horizontal joints between panels to prevent solar panel shading. These snow guards are a great option for larger solar installations and tier-style roofs.
ColorGuard by S-5! uses round-point screws for a penetration-free clamp that grips the solar panel securely and without damaging the finish of the panel. For a stylish appearance that won’t deteriorate for at least 30 years, these snow guards are made to perfectly match the color and finish of your existing roof.
SnowBreaker by SnoBlox
The SnowBreaker is uniquely designed to break snow and ice into smaller pieces before allowing it to shed off the solar panel. The installation of these snow guards can be done mechanically with clamps or with snow-safe adhesive. They are forward-facing to lessen roof stress, failures, and leaks. When installed with clamps, each SnowBreaker snow guard is designed to support up to 3,456 pounds, and when installed with adhesive, up to 1,379 pounds.
Snow Fence Snow Guards
The snow fence solution is designed to attach to the roof separately from the solar panel to minimize the impact on the panel itself. On roofs where solar panels have not yet been installed, as well as after they have been installed, these are simple to install.
The Snow Fence
The Snow Fence by Rocky Mountain Snow Guards is the most popular snow fence available. This snow fence is installed at the eave of your roof and bolted down to collect snow as it slides off the solar panels. The Snow Fence needs at least 18 to 24 inches between the lowest solar panel and the roof eave because they need a place to collect snow.
The Price of Snow Guards
Depending on the design, size, and quantity of solar panels you install, there are many different ways to install snow guards for solar panels. A snow guard typically costs $1.50-$3.00 per foot with additional costs added for installation, which can be quite a bit extra. This home in Minneapolis, for example, paid $10 per linear foot installed, and this was after the solar panels had already been installed.
Although it will cost more upfront, installing snow guards at the same time as solar panels will save you money in the long run by preventing damage from snow slides and avoiding the need to send an installer up to the roof a second time. Inquire about adding snow guards before signing the contract for your new solar panels.