Getting Snow Off Solar Panels
- Wait until it melts The preferred tactic of lazy and short people alike.
- Sweep the snow away Sounds obvious, but how do you reach? Do a quick search for “roof rake” on Google for exactly that!
- Nerf balls The most fun way – throw a soft, spongy ball onto the solar panels to knock a bit of the snow off. Actually, no, the most fun way is this:
Good luck convincing your other half that this counts as DIY.
- Ice melt sock Probably not something you've ever heard of before, which is probably because this method is rubbish. The theory is that you put calcium chloride in a sock and just place several of these at the top of your solar panels system. The calcium chloride will melt through the snow and ice, and all that troublesome snow will just pour off your roof. I'd be more concerned over corrosive damage of adding salt to the system, but those who dare, win, right?
- Heat tape This is a type of tape which is electrically heated with cables running through it. People online recommend placing it across your system to melt the snow similarly to how your car heats its rear windscreen. However, then again, I read this online, so it's probably the method favoured by 12 year olds who could put a satellite into orbit, but who have never been outside. Probably also a fantastic method of melting your solar panels along with the snow on top of them.
- Garden hose This is probably the most popular choice, but it is a bit of a caveman tactic, ie pick up the nearest object and attempt to use it as a tool. However, what if your hose is frozen? Mmmmwoarrgh aaarargh me need food. Go inside and eat a steak instead.
- Tarp system The thinking person's choice, although this does require fore-thought, hence isn't generally a great option. Keen DIYers have built pully operated systems to cover up the solar panels in the night before a snowstorm. Remember to take the tarp off though before you go to work.
- Microinverters Boring. This one is a bit technical, so if I were you, I'd ignore it and add a further idea in the comments below. Microinverts mean that individual panels can produce their highest possible power output even if the panels around them are not producing anything because some panels are covered in snow whilst others aren't. However, these inverters can be quite a lot more expensive than normal inverts and they're fiddly to set up.
- Do nothing This will cost you approximately £5 in lost FIT earnings, but maybe you could spend that time at work instead, which is probably warmer and you'll earn a bit more money that way instead.
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