Snow on Solar Panels: Does it Pay to Remove It?

During the winter months we get a lot of questions about snow on solar panels.  Some of the top questions include:

  • Do solar panels work in the winter?
  • Should I get on my roof to remove snow from the solar panels?
  • Is there a safe method to remove snow?

Here is our advice on these topics and more.

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?

Yes they do! Solar panels will produce energy even on cloudy days, shorter winter days and when covered with light snow.

Energy production will be lower in the Winter than it is during the long, sunny days of Summer. And, understandably, when panels are covered with snow it will drop even lower. In the video on this page you’ll see a demonstration of some power output even when all solar panels were covered in heavy snow.

When customers see a drop in solar power production due to snow covered panels many ask this next logical question.

Should I Get on My Roof to Remove Snow from the Solar Panels?

Definitely no! It is dangerous to get on your roof in snowy weather and not work the risk to your life and limbs. If your roof is covered in asphalt shingles, you also risk them cracking if you walk over them in cold temperatures.

Typically, the snow will melt off your solar panels. Because of the angle of panels installed on most roofs, the snow slides right off after a short amount of time. Have a little bit of patience and you may be surprised how many times the snow falls off on it’s own.

That being said, we are a solar installation company in the Midwest and we can have some interesting winters. Combinations of wet snow, rain or fog followed by a hard freeze or can cause conditions that delay the snow from falling off.

We understand in these conditions why you would want to remove the snow. And you may be wondering how to get the snow off of the solar panels.

Is There a Safe Method to Remove Snow from my Solar Panels?

If you haven’t already, check out the video linked on this page. We tested two methods of snow removal: the Snow Pro and the Snow Peeler. Both of these work while your feet are planted firmly on the ground, and are therefore the safe methods we recommend if you really want to remove the snow.

The Sno Pro is a roof rake that is specifically designed for solar panels. It’s really just a very stiff piece of foam, so there is no need to worry about it scratching the panel surface. The pole we used extended up to 24 feet and will work really well for most single story houses. (there is also a 30 ft. long pole available for this product)

One tip we found when using this roof rake, is that it’s best to start from the bottom and clear the snow from the bottom of the panels first. This gives the rest of the snow a place to go, as you continue working your way up the panels cleaning snow.

Another approach you might try is to just keep the bottom area of the panels clear of snow. Just below the panels on your roof and perhaps the bottom portion of the panels. That prevents sliding snow from forming a dam on your roof and aids in the remaining snow sliding off the panels on it’s own.

snow on roof with bottom portion removed

The Snow Peeler works a bit differently. This tool you push up the panels and the snow starts coming down the piece of attached slide. It has a hard nylon bottom that will be safe on the panels if not used aggressively.

This method helps prevent the snow you’re removing from going into your gutter and you don’t have to pull the snow down. This tool also has a pole that extends to 24 feet.

Enjoy Your Solar Energy and Stay Safe!

If you installed solar for your home we understand wanting to get the most energy production possible! Please always be safe and feel free to reach out to us at Iconic Energy with any additional questions.