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Snow On Your Solar Panels?

By: Eric Huesca, SEO Content Writer

May 3, 2022

You’re walking down the neighborhood and you see one of your neighbors’ solar roofs is covered with an inch of snow, and you think to yourself, how can this person actually benefit from their solar panels? Isn’t the snow going to mess up the components of a solar energy system? In these cold icy times, snow and ice tend to cover roofs completely, this includes solar roofs but there is nothing to worry about. Solar panels are just an extension of the roof and provide the same amount of durability. The solar panel system is also tested for heavy winds and heavy snow fall.

Solar Panels covered in snow

Solar installation in Ohio by solgen power

Is Snow Bad On Your Panel?

Despite the common misconception, snow is not inherently detrimental to solar panels. In fact, solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, including snowfall. However, it’s crucial to understand how snow might temporarily affect solar panel performance and what measures can be taken to mitigate these impacts.

When a layer of snow covers solar panels, it can indeed reduce their ability to generate electricity because it obstructs the panels’ access to sunlight. The thicker the snow layer, the less light the panels can absorb, leading to decreased energy production. Furthermore, if snow accumulates and forms an icy layer, it might be more difficult to remove and may take longer to melt away naturally.

That said, the design and installation of solar panels take this into account. Panels are often installed at an angle, not only for optimal sun exposure but also to allow snow to slide off more easily. Moreover, the surface of most solar panels is slippery, which encourages snow to slide off.

Importantly, solar panels operate more efficiently in cold temperatures, and snowy landscapes can sometimes enhance solar panel performance. Snow reflects sunlight, and this increased albedo effect can result in more light reaching the panels, especially if the snow hasn’t completely covered them.

For those living in particularly snowy areas, technologies such as solar panel snow rakes or heated panels can help alleviate snow accumulation. However, in most cases, it’s usually best to let nature take its course. When the sun comes out, it will naturally heat the panels, causing the snow to melt and slide off.

Overall, while snow can temporarily decrease solar panel output, it is not harmful to the panels themselves, and the impact on annual energy production is often minor. Considering the energy production over the entire year, the periods of snow coverage are typically brief compared to the sunny, productive days of spring, summer, and fall.

Should You Clean It?

While it might be tempting to take matters into your own hands and remove snow from your solar panels, it’s generally recommended not to do this yourself for several reasons.

Firstly, safety is paramount. Climbing onto a roof during icy or snowy conditions is risky and could potentially lead to serious injuries. Moreover, solar panels are delicate pieces of equipment, and using a shovel or other tool to remove the snow could inadvertently damage the panels. Scratches or damage to the panel surface can affect their efficiency and lifespan.

Secondly, solar panels are designed to withstand various weather conditions, including snow. The smooth surface and angled placement of panels often facilitate the natural sliding off of the snow once it starts to melt. In addition, the dark surface of the panels tends to attract sunlight and heat up faster, aiding in the melting process.

Another thing to keep in mind is that even with a layer of snow, panels can still produce some electricity as a small amount of sunlight is able to penetrate through. Furthermore, over the course of a year, the loss in energy production due to snow is relatively minor, particularly when you consider the increased efficiency of panels during colder, sunny weather.

If snowfall is particularly heavy and persistent, and you are concerned about the prolonged loss of solar production, consider hiring a professional cleaning service that specializes in solar panels. They have the proper equipment, knowledge, and safety training to perform the job without damaging the panels or risking personal safety.

Safety Concerns

Solar panels are typically installed in locations that are high and out of reach such as rooftops. The nature of this placement can make the task of removing snow quite perilous. Ascending a snowy and icy roof presents inherent dangers, including a high risk of slips or falls. Even with the proper safety gear and precautions, climbing a roof in such conditions can be treacherous for the untrained individual.

Moreover, there’s the risk of accidentally damaging the panels themselves. Solar panels are composed of several photovoltaic cells that are sensitive and can be damaged by improper handling or the use of inappropriate snow removal tools. Any scratches or damage to the surface of the panels can impact their ability to function effectively and can lead to costly repairs or replacement.

Professional solar panel cleaning and maintenance services have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively remove snow from your panels. They understand the delicate nature of solar panels and have the training to perform the task without causing damage. They also adhere to strict safety protocols to reduce the risk of injury.

Hence, while it may be tempting to tackle snow removal yourself, especially if you’re eager to maximize your solar power production, the safer approach is to rely on professionals. This ensures both the longevity of your solar system and your personal safety.

Professional Snow Removal Services

In regions where heavy snowfall is a common occurrence, it can have a more significant impact on the long-term efficiency of your solar panels. While solar panels are designed to withstand the weight of snow and are typically installed at an angle to promote self-clearing, there may be instances where professional intervention becomes necessary.

Professional snow removal services for solar panels are equipped to handle such situations. These experts are trained to safely and effectively remove snow from your panels without causing any damage. They utilize specialized tools and techniques to gently brush off the snow, ensuring the surface of the panels is not scratched or otherwise harmed in the process.

Investing in such services can be particularly beneficial for larger solar panel systems or installations that are difficult to access. By employing professionals to handle snow removal, you can ensure that your panels remain clear and functional throughout the winter months, maximizing their energy production and the return on your investment.

When selecting a snow removal service, it’s important to look for companies that have specific experience with solar panels. A knowledgeable service provider will understand the delicate nature of the task and will take the necessary precautions to protect your investment. They will also be familiar with safety protocols to prevent falls or other accidents during the snow removal process.

Remember, while the occasional snowfall might cause temporary drops in your system’s energy production, solar panels are a long-term investment, and their overall performance will more than make up for these weather-related interruptions. Therefore, ensuring your panels are properly maintained and serviced, especially during the winter season, can help you make the most of your solar energy system.

Tips for Dealing with Snow

When it comes to dealing with snow on solar panels, there are several strategies homeowners can adopt to ensure optimal performance and safety. Firstly, consistent monitoring of your solar system’s output is crucial, especially during winter months. Most modern solar systems come equipped with monitoring software that allows homeowners to track system performance in real-time. A significant drop in electricity production may indicate that snow is obstructing your panels.

Secondly, considering the placement and tilt of your solar panels can greatly affect snow accumulation. Panels that are installed at a steeper angle tend to allow snow to slide off more easily. Additionally, placing panels in a location that naturally receives more sunlight can aid in melting the snow faster, due to the dark color of the panels absorbing sunlight and generating heat.

Lastly, it’s essential to understand when professional assistance is necessary. If a significant amount of snow has built up and shows no signs of melting, or if your system’s performance is consistently underperforming, it may be time to call a professional. Professionals have the necessary equipment and expertise to safely remove snow without damaging your solar system.

Always remember that your safety comes first. The short-term decrease in production caused by snow is usually minor compared to the potential cost of personal injury or system damage. It’s worth noting that snow can even have a cleaning effect on your panels, washing away any dust or dirt, and when it melts, it can even improve system performance.


The thing is, if there is a thin amount of snow, you are still getting sunlight to those panels. Sunlight can actually make it through about 3 feet of snow, anything less, and you should still be able to get solar energy into your home, although the amount of energy. With a lot of snow, light tends to bounce off but some lights rays manage to make it through.  


You shouldn’t get worried if it starts to snow with everything you know now.  Your panels are fine in extreme conditions. Even on snowiest days, the sun still shines and the snow won’t last forever, it will go away and allow your system to fully reap the benefits of what it was intended to do, save you money! 

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