Solar Guards: Avoid the Avalanche!
Sometimes we see a big blizzard with heavy snow that sticks around for a while. Fortunately, the average solar panel can support up to 800lbs. of snow. There are side effects to snow on solar panels, however: Solar avalanches! Adding solar panels to your roof changes the way snow interacts with the roof itself. Read on to learn more about these changes: the dangers and what you can do to prevent them.
Why Solar Guards are Important
Asphalt shingles are what most roofs are designed with here in the states. Asphalt shingles have high friction and after a snowfall, snow typically grips to the rough surface as melt water from the bottom of the pile slowly melts the snow away. The solar panels installed on your roof replace this rough, grippy, asphalt surface with smooth, even glass. This means when snow builds up on this this low-friction material, the melt water underneath the snow acts as an accelerator. This causes snow to slip off your roof all at once. These “avalanches” have the potential to do damage to landscaping, cables, vehicles, gutters and even you or your family.
What are Snow Guards
A snow guard is a device designed to prevent damage caused by snow slipping off solar panels. Solar panels have snow guards affixed directly them to prevent large pieces of snow from cascading down and falling off your roof all at once.
Not all homeowners need solar guards
- Our Engineers can design your system with ample asphalt roof space around the edge of your solar PV system. This rough roof space acts as a barrier to snow slipping off your solar panels and roof. If you’re working with limited roof space, however, the size of your solar system will be reduced.
- If the area underneath your solar panels doesn’t have doorways, vehicles or landscaping, and there are no safety threats, snow guards may not be necessary.
- The pitch of your roof will be a factor in determining the necessity of snow guards.
Due to these variables, your solar installer will work with you to understand if snow guards are a good fit for your solar system. Ultimately, Third Sun Solar will recommend the instillation of snow guards on solar systems where there is risk of damage or harm.
There are places in Ohio, for example Cleveland, Akron and the northern part of the state, where significant snow buildup during the wintertime is a real concern. Consider how much snow falls annually in your area when you weigh the risks of not getting snow guards. Learn more about solar in the snow here.
In the end, snow guards are relatively low-cost additions to your solar purchase. Insuring your property and the people you love are safe given the chance of a solar panel snow slip might be worth investing in this low-cost upgrade.
Here at Third Sun Solar we have been working in the Midwest for the past 19 years. Our experienced installers can assess your roof and determine if snow guards are right for you.