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How to Keep Snow off Solar Panels

Even though solar panels are wonderful energy-producing machines, they can’t withstand a heavy coating of snow and ice for too long. The elements will inevitably take their toll on your system and reduce its effectiveness the longer that you leave it exposed to the elements. 


snow-covered solar panels

So, how can you clean snow on solar panels in winter so that they remain as effective as possible? Unless you have the budget and resources to have an off-grid solar setup that won’t be affected by snowfall and frost, you are unlikely to be able to remove all ice and snow from your solar panels at any point during the year. 

Why Should I Remove Snow from Solar Panels?

Have you ever wondered why clearing snow off your solar panels is essential? Here are a few effective reasons:

Maintaining Efficiency: Snow piled up on solar panels can block sunlight, significantly decreasing efficiency. Solar panels need direct sunlight to generate electricity effectively. By removing snow, you enable the panels to resume optimal energy production.

Maximizing Energy Output: When solar panels are buried in snow, they produce less electricity or might not work. Clearing the snow allows the panels to capture sunlight, converting it into electricity and maximizing energy output. This way, you can fully utilize your solar investment, reaping the financial benefits.

Preventing Damage: Heavy snow loads can put excessive weight on solar panels, risking structural damage or even dislodging them from their mounts. Additionally, melted snow can refreeze, forming ice dams that damage the boards or the roof. Removing snow reduces these risks, ensuring the longevity of your solar panel system.

Ensuring Safety: Snow sliding or falling from panels can create hazardous ice or snow buildups, increasing the risk of slips and falls. Removing the snow makes the surroundings safer for yourself and others.

Long-Term Cost Savings: Keeping your solar panels clear of snow helps you avoid potential long-term costs. Covered panels produce less energy, leading to reduced savings on electricity bills. Regular snow removal ensures consistent energy generation, maximizing the financial benefits of your solar panel system.

Clearing snow off your solar panels not only boosts their efficiency and extends their lifespan but also ensures your safety and long-term savings.

However, there are some steps that you can take in order to minimize ice formation and reduce the effects of snow as much as possible. Here is everything you need to know about keeping your solar panels clean in the winter:

How to Keep Snow off Solar Panels ?

Here are 11 effective ways to keep snow off solar panels

1- Rotate Panels to Avoid Snow on Solar Panels

It might sound ridiculous, but rotating your solar panels through the winter months can have a significant impact on their lifespan and performance. When ice and snow on solar panels have built up on, it can create considerable extra weight. As a result, the panels might break or detach themselves from the roof, risking damage and even injury to those below the panels. You can reduce the chance of this happening by ensuring your panels don’t become too heavy. 

The easiest way to do this is to rotate the panels every couple of days. Even if you don’t manage to remove all of the ice and snow on solar panels, rotating them will significantly reduce the risk of damage. And, if you are lucky enough to have an electric roof with a built-in motor, rotating your solar panels can be as simple as tapping a button.

2- Use a Soft-Bristled Outdoor Broom

Consider using a soft-bristled outdoor broom to clear snow off your solar panels without causing any damage. This method is similar to a roof rake but offers a gentle touch. Start by choosing a broom with soft bristles, ensuring they are not abrasive to the panel’s surface. 

A broom with a telescoping handle is ideal. It allows you to extend its reach, making it easier to access high points on your roof where solar panels are installed. With the gentle bristles and extended reach, carefully sweep the snow and ice off the solar panels. Take your time and be thorough, ensuring you clear all the snow without applying excessive pressure. The soft bristles effectively remove snow without scratching the surface of the solar panels. By employing this method, you can maintain the efficiency of your solar panels during snowy weather, ensuring they continue to generate optimal energy without any damage.

3- Blow the Snow Off

Another effective method for clearing light and fluffy snow off your solar panels is by using a leaf blower. If you have a leaf blower with adjustable settings, set it to a low setting and carefully blow the snow off the panels. It’s important to maintain a safe distance and angle the blower correctly to prevent any damage to the panels. By employing this technique, you can quickly and efficiently remove light snow without the risk of scratching or harming the solar panels.

4- Use Deicing Spray

While deicing sprays can help to prevent ice or snow on solar panels, they can’t remove the ice that has already been created. And, although you can use water to melt away the ice once it is there, it is important to remember that you can’t keep using this water or else you are at risk of rusting your panels. 

If you’re in a particularly cold climate, it is a good idea to keep a water hose nearby. This way, you can break away any ice that has built up on your panels and then direct the water away from your solar panels to prevent rusting.

5- Break the Ice With Water Using a Hose

During warm weather when there’s no risk of freezing, using a standard garden hose can be an effective way to clear snow from your solar panels. Simply spray a gentle stream of water over the panels to melt and remove the snow. It’s crucial to avoid using hot water to prevent thermal shock, which could damage the panels. By employing this method, you can safely and efficiently clear the snow, ensuring your solar panels continue to operate at their optimal efficiency.

6- Utilize Brushing and Scrubbing

If you’ve already removed any existing ice from your panels, you can minimize the risk of new ice forming by regularly brushing and scrubbing your solar panels. This can be done as often as you like, but it may be beneficial to do it on a bi-weekly basis. Brushing and scrubbing your panels can help to prevent snow on solar panels from causing damage to your solar panels. 

It can also prevent your panels from becoming too heavy and may even be able to prevent your panels from becoming too slippery. This way, your panels will remain in place throughout the winter months. If you want to be extra careful, you can use a brush with synthetic bristles, as natural fibers can easily break away in cold weather and could end up damaging your panels.

7- Solar Panel Snow Removal

During the winter months, you will find that it is extremely difficult to remove snow on solar panels without risking damage. This is because snow is heavy, slippery, and can be difficult to grip. As a result, it is best to wait for snow to melt before removing it from your solar panels. 

If you have limited room for solar panels, you may want to consider removing snow from only a few panels. This way, you can ensure that other panels are exposed to the sun and are able to generate electricity. As long as you are careful, you should be able to remove the snow on solar panels without damaging them.

8- Solar Panel Snow Rake

If you want to remove snow on solar panels without risking damage, you can do so with the help of a solar panel snow rake. These rakes are specially designed to remove snow from solar panels without causing any unnecessary damage. They can be used on almost any type of roof, too. Solar panel snow rakes are particularly beneficial for multi-roof households. 

If you know that your neighbors also have solar panels, you can use the solar panel snow rake to remove the snow from your own panels and the ones on your neighbors’ roofs. This way, you can reduce the amount of electricity that you use and help to reduce your carbon footprint.

9- Solar Panel Snow Guards

Solar panel snow guards are a great solution for those who want to keep their solar panels clean in the winter without having to manually remove snow from them. 

Installing solar panels and snow guards will save you money, energy, and your headaches too. Snow guard installation is simply an extra step. It’s a best option for that area where snow falls and accumulates to several inches.

10- Leaf Blower

If the snow is light or there is a lot of ground to cover, a leaf blower can also be used to clear the snow off of solar panels. If there is ice buildup on the panels, a leaf blower can help because it can move enough air to break up the ice. Lift the panels up and blow the snow off them with a leaf blower. Start at the top and work your way down. For safety reasons, make sure the blower is on a low setting at all times.

11- Throwing Soft Ball

Yes, you read that right. A softball can be useful for getting rid of light snow cover on solar panels. Just throw the ball up at the panels and let it bounce off the snow. This may help break up the snow, making it easier to clear. You can use this method if you don’t have any other tools or if the snow is light and easy to clear. You should be careful not to throw the ball too hard or too high, though, because that could break the panels.

12- Heating System

Putting in a heating system is one way to get rid of snow quickly from solar panels. These systems are made to melt snow and ice that builds up on the panels, so they can keep making energy even when snow covers them for long periods of time. These systems are usually put in place under the solar panels. They use a conductive material to move heat to the surface of the panels. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that having a heating system can be pricey and might not be a good idea for all homeowners.

How Snow Affects Solar Panels

Keep in mind that small bits of snow shouldn’t worry you because they don’t have a big effect on your solar panels. Though, a storm that brings heavy snow could cause a number of problems that could damage the solar panels or make the power production less effective. We will talk about how snow impacts solar panels in this part.

Reduced Sunlight Exposure

One of the main ways that snow damages solar cells is by blocking the sun. It is physically impossible for photovoltaic cells to connect with the sun when snow builds up on top of solar panels. The amount of sunlight that can be taken and turned into electricity drops by a large amount.

Decreased Energy Production

The less sunlight contact directly leads to less energy being made. Solar screens can lose power even if there is only a thin layer of snow on them. In places where it snows a lot, this effect may be stronger, which could mean that energy production is cut off for longer periods of time.

Output Not Matching

When snow hits bigger solar panel arrays with more panels tied to each other, it can be even worse. When some panels are partly covered with snow and others are not, the amount of power they produce is not equal. This difference in result can make the whole system less effective and efficient.

Stress on Structures and the Weight of Snow

When snow builds up on solar panels, it can make the building heavier. Even though solar panels are made to work in a variety of weather situations, too much snow can put extra stress on the mounting systems and the roof. In the worst situations, this extra weight can damage the building.


knowing how to keep snow and ice off solar panels the methods to prevent snow and ice buildup on solar panels is vital for their efficiency and maximizing energy production, especially during winter. By implementing the right techniques, whether it’s using roof rakes or advanced heating systems, ensures that your solar panels remain clear and productive despite snowy conditions. 

However, it’s crucial to emphasize safety and seek professional advice when needed, guaranteeing the long-term durability and effectiveness of your solar power system. By taking proactive measures to manage snow accumulation, you can continue enjoying the advantages of clean and renewable energy throughout the winter months.

Learn How to clean solar panels on roofs.


Can snow crack solar panels?

Solar panels can have trouble when there is a lot of snow and ice on them. The weight could damage the parts that connect them and hold them together, and it might even break the glass.

What is the Best time to clean solar panels?

When it’s cool outside, like early in the morning or late in the afternoon, is the best time to clean solar panels. If you clean the panels in the middle of the day when it’s hot, the water may evaporate too fast and leave behind streaks or spots. Also, clean the panels after it rains or snows a lot to get rid of any dirt or other waste that may have gathered.

How Do Solar Panels Work in Winter With Snow?

Solar panels can still make power even if snow is on top of them. But because there isn’t any direct sunlight, the power output will be a lot less. Getting rid of the snow lets the panels receive sunlight, get back to working at their best, and make the most energy possible.

How Does Snow Affect Efficiency?

Snow makes solar panels less useful because it blocks sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells on the top of the panel. Putting snow on the panels makes them physically impassable, which lowers the amount of sunlight that can be turned into energy. In turn, this means that the panels are less efficient and produce less energy. Also, too much snow can make solar panel arrays produce uneven amounts of energy, and when partly melted snow freezes again, it can form icy patches that make it even harder for sunlight to reach the panels.