How To Remove Snow From Solar Panels!

How to Remove Snow from Solar Panels?

Lagrone Snow

With two to three feet of snow on solar panels across New England, one question that has come up from our customers is, “is there a safe way to remove snow from solar panels?” Firstly, lets address the word “safe” with an emphasis on physical safety, and then the safety of the panels. In general, this approach should be followed with all home improvement activities, especially this time of year when it’s icy and cold.

Don’t Try It!
This may sound obvious, but as I looked out my window today and saw someone on a pitched roof shoveling off snow, I have to say – Don’t Try it! This is not a good idea. YOU COULD FALL! I don’t care if there is 8 feet of snow on the ground, you can get hurt. Besides that, many snow shovels will scratch your solar panels, so all around, just don’t try it.

Roof Rakes
That aside, many of you know you can buy roof rakes with telescoping poles that can reach anywhere from 10 to 20 plus feet. That means you don’t have to climb on any ladders, and especially, your roof. However, many common roof rakes can scratch your panels. I avoid using the word damage, as most solar panels are made with tempered glass and rated for category three hurricanes and hail at 110 mph. If scratches do occur, they won’t effect your power production, but if you are like me, you don’t want to see scrapes across your beautiful array.

Roof Rake Materials
First off, NEVER use an aluminum roof rake. It may have a blunt edge, but it can still leave a nasty mark on your panels. Plastic roof rakes are better, but I am not confident that they will follow the Boy Scout motto “leave not trace.” Additionally, beware, many common plastic models have wing nuts or bolts holding the pole to the rake head, and those bolts/nuts could potentially scrape the panels. Alternatively, there are some nifty soft non-abrasive roof rake options.
*Disclaimer, I can’t say I’ve tested any of these non-abrasive options. Most of the roof raking we do at Rayah Solar is to clean a rooftop prior to the installation, so we can install panels, and for that, the above-mentioned aluminum or plastic rakes work just fine.

However, if you want to experiment a little, buy a roof rake with a rubber (like you would use for your car wind shield) or foam head (they sell these for skylights). But before you use it, examine the rake head and attachment areas carefully to make sure there are no screws or bolts that could inadvertently scratch your panels. Here is a link to one such product:

Is it Needed?
Before you do anything, ask yourself, “is it needed.” Your solar panels are dark and have a glass front, meaning they tend to shed snow faster than a typical roof surface. After many snow storms your panels may be free from snow the very next day. On the other hand we have had some MEGA STORMS recently, and you may have noticed a dip in your power production and gotten a bits antsy, i.e. “my solar power, I NEED MY SOLAR POWER!” If you fall into this category then perhaps a fancy-dancy foam head roof rake with a 25’ graphite-telescoping pole is in store for you. Wait a minute, that’s me – I NEED MY SOLAR POWER!

I hope this helps.

Article By: Brad Stoler ~ Solar Consultant/Sales Manager, Rayah Solar

Bookmark and Share

No comments so far.

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.