Snow and Solar

One of the things I completely overlooked, was easy access to the roof. Having put a 9.5Kw solar system on the roof, consisting of 29-panels, when you get 12-inches of snow overnight, the next day or longer the solar just doesn’t work.

On traditional pitched roof houses, as the sun shines down on the snow, and the panels start to get warm, the snow slides off the panels. It will take a couple of days, but it gets there mostly due to the much more aggressive angle of the roof.

Given our panels are only pitched at about 5-degrees off the roof, the snow really doesn’t slide off. You have to wait for it to actually melt, or get up on the roof and completely, and carefully remove the snow from the panels.

The 2nd problem is, given you can use anything abrasive on the panels, if you just pile up the snow at the edge of each panel and it freezes, if it snows again before the first lot of snow has completely melted, you’ll have nowhere to move the new snow.

So this was the scene last Saturday after a couple of hours work.

Pretty much as soon as I started to get the snow cleared, the inverters started cranking out electric. Another reason I need access to the panels, at least for the next couple of years is there is construction going on across the street, and next month they’ll be starting construction on a 6-plex townhome block on the lot nextdoor. Assuming everything goes ahead, Markel will be building out Block-11 in 2017-2018, which means construction probably won’t end until September 2018.

Given we live in a dry area, with little rain. Keeping the construction dust off the panels by carefully washing them is important.

1. Need to look at incorporating a set of steps in the patio for easy acces.

2. Need to find a good solution for actually clearing the snow from the panels.

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