Dealing with Snow-Covered Solar Panels

snow solar panels

Midwesterners are accustomed to having snow on their roofs for up to five months of the year, so customers in that region of the country often wonder what action is required to keep their solar panels performing after a snow event. We are commonly asked, "Should I shovel or brush my panels off?" The answer may surprise you: neither action is recommended nor necessary.

Snow will naturally melt off solar panels. Even with snow cover, panels continue to absorb heat from the sun. That heat, enhanced by the installation angle and the slippery surface of the panels, causes snow to melt and run off unaided.

Moreover, there are some important reasons why you should not physically remove snow from solar panels:

  • It’s possible to scratch panels, which can reduce long-term efficiency. Scratches can cause the sunlight to be fractured instead of fully absorbed, therefore reducing the amount of solar energy captured and converted into electricity for your facility.
  • Being on top of the roof in the winter is hazardous. Snow and ice buildup create falling hazards that are a liability to personal safety and can become a company liability.
Solar panels won’t generate electricity while they are covered in snow but as soon as snow starts to run off, panels resume productivity, even in low-light conditions. High-quality solar PV systems are designed to work seamlessly throughout all seasons with very little ongoing maintenance.

Casey Knaup

Construction Management Group Leader

Casey leads SunPeak's onsite construction teams, providing direction, coaching and training for our solar PV installers and construction foremen. Casey has directly managed onsite operations for some of the largest solar PV installations in the nation. He ensures team members follow safe working practices, manages onsite material delivery and scheduling, and provides exemplary communication to all project stakeholders.