Solar Myth Busting: Too Much Snow for Solar

Solar panels still generate power under snow
Myths get started all the time as we try to understand something complicated. We make up a story as an explanation, and the more times we say it and share it, the more that myth sounds like truth. So, we are going to bust some myths by sharing the simple facts about solar. This doesn’t have to be complicated and these myths are no longer necessary to get solar.

Myth: There’s too much snow for solar in the Midwest

Fact: Solar panels still work in snowy parts of the country and in some situations can work more efficiently that during summer months.

It’s true that when your solar panels are completely snow-covered, they will only be able to generate a portion of their typical energy output because less sunlight is able to pass thru the snow cover.

That being said, this is nothing to be concerned about because:

  • Solar creates more efficient energy at cooler temperatures.
  • The sun will warm up the dark solar panels and the snow will quickly melt and/or slide off the smooth surface, so no need to clear the snow off yourself.
  • Even in the dead of winter, solar panels give off some small amount of heat, which can prevent snow from sticking in the first place.
  • In working with Third Sun Solar experts in the design of the array, the shorter days, weather, and less direct sunlight is taken into account to optimize your system. Net-metering will allow you to continue receiving electricity when your array produces less.
  • As a percentage of overall yearly production the loss from some snow is very small.
  • When snow is on the ground and the panels are clear, the snowy surface basically acts as a mirror and in many cases, you end up with a small boost because of the reflection off the snow.
  • Snow sliding off panels as it melts simultaneously cleans them.

We recommend not trying to clear the solar panels. Getting onto a roof in inclement weather is dangerous and using any type of tool on the panels themselves can damage the panels.