Because the face of solar panels are fabricated from glass, theres no surface area/friction for snow to grip onto, and nothing to stop it from building up, eventually releasing in an avalanche manner, in the form of what we Alpine-ites like to refer to as a solavalanche.
3 Ways to Prevent a Solavalanche
Jolene Ciosek for | Ecofasten Solar
Most of you already knew this, but in case you didn’t (it never hurts repeating), Alpine SnowGuards led the charge in engineering snow management systems that were designed specifically for use on solar arrays. In fact, we currently manufacture 3 systems, each with its own unique features, making deciding which system to go with a walk in the park!
So, what are these systems, and what are the differences between them? Taking a step back makes the most sense, so you can get a good feel of where the solar snow management idea stemmed from, as well as where it is now.
Because the face of solar panels are fabricated from glass, there’s no surface area/friction for snow to grip onto, and nothing to stop it from building up, eventually releasing in an avalanche manner, in the form of what we Alpine-ites like to refer to as a solavalanche.
If you live, work, or play in an area of the country that sees any accumulated snowfall, you know what I’m talking about….and you know the drill. Come to think of it, you probably know the noise, too: That shifting, sliding, melting snow that avalanches off your roof in one massive tha-wump. These solavalanches can damage expensive landscaping, vehicles, BBQ grills, gutters, plumbing vents….or worse, they can harm (and even kill) people and animals.
Enter Solar SnowMax, a frame-mounted solution that has become, over the years, a go-to for solar installers installing solar arrays in areas of the country that accumulate any amount of snow. Think about this: The calculated snow load of a single solar panel is approximately 800 lbs/panel (50 lbs/sf x 16 sf average per panel). It’s starting to make sense, right?
Take a look at our systems below:
Designed for use on the eave-edge of the array, Solar SnowMax-R2 is the largest fence option, with the fence/bar measuring 2” tall for projects requiring a higher fence on the eaves. The grooved front accepts an optional black insert strip to match the panel frame.
Our original solar snow management system, which was designed to be installed along the eave-edge of an array, has now shifted to being used for additional, upslope tiers of snow management. The 1-inch high fence/bar on the Solar SnowMax-Standard is ideal for upslope installation due to the low-profile, which minimizes shading.
Just like Solar SnowMax-Standard, our Solar Snow Pads are also designed to be used when additional upslope tiers of solar snow management are needed. The unique trait about the Solar Snow Pads is that they also accept 3/8” stainless steel rods, which creates a hybrid system in that it can be used as pad-style snow management AND as a pipe-style system if you choose to add the rods.
Determining proper application is easy with our Solar Snow Management Application Chart!
Managing snow on solar makes sense. 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.
Now is the time to start thinking about solar snow management, long before the snow flies, and before we all get busy with other things like, oh, I don’t know….enjoying summer â˜¼
(Above: My husband and Son at one of our favorite fishing spots)
If you’d like more information, visit the solar snow management section of our website. Everything you need is there, including product-specific documentation like cut sheets, assembly sheets, installation instructions, and specifications. Feel free to email or call us if you have any questions or would like to know more about our Solar SnowMax and Solar Snow Pad product line.
Alpine SnowGuards will be at Western Roofing Expo in Las Vegas June 12-13 (print your free pass here), so if you’re there too, stop by booth 550 and we’ll show you our solar solutions, as well as answer any questions about our extensive line of rooftop snow management devices. We manufacture over 60 systems for all roof types, with countless custom snow guards under our belt!
If you’re a solar installer, our Sister company, EcoFasten Solar will be at Solar Power Texas in Austin (booth 10, June 13-14), Intersolar North America in San Francisco (booth 9433, July 11-13), and Solar Power International in Las Vegas (booth 841, Sep 11-13). We’ll have our solar snow management solutions with us, so come on over, say hi, and take a look at our complete product line, which includes solar roof mounts, components, and rail-free racking systems. EcoFasten Solar was voted #1 Racking & Mounting Company in 2016….come see what all the fuss is about!
We keep snow in its place
The content & opinions in this article are the authorâ€™s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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