The snow melting on your panels actually acts as a lubricant between the snow mass and the panel surface, which makes the solar panel a completely frictionless, slick surface thats the perfect candidate to allow that snow mass to come barreling off your roof.
How to Manage Snow on Solar
Jolene Ciosek | EcoFasten Solar
So, to start things off, I have to say it….I woke up to 31° and snow on the mountain that looms above my house. It’s pretty much here, no matter how hard I try to deny it. It’s not that I dislike the snow itself. I dislike shoveling it, and I really dislike driving in it. You’d think after 26 years, from a 16 year old with no fear to a now 42 year old with “white knuckle” syndrome, I would be used to it by now (if you don’t know what white knuckle syndrome is, you obviously live in the tropics….just picture what your knuckles look like after having a death grip on your steering wheel for any length of time).
With the snow also comes a phenomenon we like to refer to as a Solavalanche(yes, we’ve actually hashtagged that!)
If you live, work, or play in an area of the country that sees any amount of accumulated snowfall every winter, you know the drill. It happens every year….the shifting, melting snow that avalanches off your roof in one massive tha-wump. These avalanches can damage expensive landscaping, vehicles, BBQ grills, gutters, plumbing vents….or worse, they can harm people and animals.
(Image from the Alpine SnowGuards archives)
Are you, like many of us, the proud owner of a solar array? Then you’ve seen firsthand how all that snow can pick up in speed and intensity because now, it has accumulated on glass. The snow melting on your panels actually acts as a lubricant between the snow mass and the panel surface, which makes the solar panel a completely frictionless, slick surface that’s the perfect candidate to allow that snow mass to come barreling off your roof.
(Image from Fireflower Alternative Energy)
We live in Vermont, so, yeah, we’ve definitely seen our fair share of snow, and of Solavalanches. That’s why we designed these three solar snow management systems:
What’s the difference, you ask? The R2 is for use at the eave-edge, the Standard is for additional rows up-slope if needed, and the Solar Snow Pad, while also for additional rows of up-slope snow management, also accepts two 3/8” OD pipes, acting as a pad-style snow guard or a pipe-style snow guard.
We know that managing snow on your solar panels makes sense, so we thought it was important to share with you the line of solutions, manufactured by Alpine SnowGuards, the Sister Company of EcoFasten Solar. These snow management solutions have been proven as the strongest on the market, due to their rugged engineering and aircraft-grade aluminum fabrication. They’re ideal for roof-top solar arrays and carports, for both commercial and residential applications, and can be installed on either portrait or landscape orientation arrays. The frame-mounted fence systems have a grooved front to accept an optional black color insert strip, to match black panel frames.
(Solar SnowMax-R2: Image on left from NRG Home Solar, Long Island, NY)
(Solar SnowMax-Standard: Image on left from Go Green Industries, Westford, MA)
(Solar Snow Pad)
Take a look at this installation video, showing all 3 options, and how they work.
We’ve been engaged in solar snow management R&D for just shy of 5 years, and the final designs were engineered specifically to provide a super low-profile to minimize shading. Because the majority of panels don’t generate electricity along the edges, the shading effect is extremely minor.
Now is the time to start thinking about snow management, long before the snow starts to fly and before we get busy with other things like skiing, sledding, and, UGH….shoveling.
I hope you all enjoy the remainder of autumn and all that it has to offer. I know I don’t speak only for myself when I say my flip-flops are here to stay (at least until there’s snow in my yard).
The content & opinions in this article are the authorâ€™s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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