Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by admin
Importance of snow guards in solar panel system: How they work
Snow guards are necessary to install solar panels. The popularity of solar panels is increasing day by day due to how solar panel works? like the ability to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity to power your home.
However, the production of solar energy remains almost the same in any kind of weather sunny, cloudy, or rainy. But what happens when there is snow outside? Solar panels can produce solar energy efficiently on a snowy day, but if there is a considerable amount of snow collected on the surface of solar PV panels, it will restrict them from doing their job.
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Important Points To Remember
- Snow guards are usually a good choice for areas that face winter snow.
- A solar panel snow guard is a physical barrier typically installed in between or on the sides of the solar PV panels.
- It will save you and your loved ones from sudden snow and ice-related accidents.
- To avoid large sheets of snow from being accumulated on the rooftop snow guards, snow pads, and snow rails are used.
- Snow guards are the only mechanisms that can control how the snow falls.
Effects of Snow on Solar Energy Production
So, now the question arises, how does snow affect solar energy production, and will snow on panels make snow accumulation more dangerous? We’ll discuss this one by one in detail.
Firstly, we cannot ignore the severe effects of snow on solar panels during extreme winter conditions. It can burst pipes, and can also pull gutters apart, in severe cases, these can harm your pet or your loved ones.
No one can stop the snow from falling or a snowstorm from rising. One can only control how the snow falls. Snow guards are the only mechanisms that can control how the snow falls.
Secondly, in the northern region, snow can easily gather on the panels’ surface in no time. Here the chances of blockage of the pathway of solar panels to produce solar energy increases. This mass of snow can cause dangerous snow slides.
Moreover, to be protected from such snow slides snow guards are a good option. Snow guards keep the solar PV systems from any external damage and maintain the quality of solar energy technology used in PV panels for solar energy production.
Dangers of Snow Accumulation on Solar Panels
Most rooftops are made from roofing materials that allow friction to hold snow mass and slide it off slowly and safely. These roofing materials shed off the snow naturally and without any damage.
Although, the danger of irregular snow shed off is usually faced by homeowners after the installation of residential solar. It is because solar panels are made of smooth glass surfaces. So, when snow falls, it faces comparatively less friction.
As a result, when snow accumulates on the surface of the cell, it becomes compacted. As the snow melts, it slowly begins to run between your solar panels.
However, these compacted snow sheets sliding off from panels result in dangerous avalanches. The weight of 12 inches of snow per square foot is 9.39 pounds. On average solar panels are designed to support as much as 800 pounds.
The array of PV cells of about 144 square feet can accumulate more than 1300 pounds of snow.
No one wants that this massive snow mass will slide off in one large sheet. Large sheets of compacted snow sliding off your roof can cause:
- Damage to plants and trees and your landscape
- Severe damage to outdoor furniture, fences and decks, hot tubs
- Block the doors
- Injure your loved ones and animals walking around your home
- Can bend and block rain gutters and downspouts
Why Installing Snow Guards with Solar Panels is a Good Option?
A solar panel snow guard is a physical barrier typically installed in between or on the sides of the solar PV panels.
Snow guards protect you and your family from mini avalanches that result from residential solar.
Snow guards work by capturing the snow slides off from the PV array. So, these prevent the heavy sheets of snow from falling at once. These keep your solar panels efficient and your home energy at a balanced rate.
PV cells that have snow guards on them release snow in small portions. In another way, it holds the snow on the rooftop to let it melt.
Screw-on clamps were used to affix the snow guards firmly in their place.
Thus, Snow guards are installed on already installed solar PV panels. Solar panels with snow guards will save you from expensive repairs to your landscape, fences, and rain gutters, and, these save you and your family from heavy sheets of snow.
Different Types of Snow Guards for your Solar Panels
Solar PV cells’ performance is not affected by snow accumulation. They still produce the maximum solar energy.
Solar energy production is better in the regions of cold temperatures and light disbursement of snow.
Solar panels are designed in a way that they can melt the ice on their surface automatically and slide it off. So, any snow accumulation that prevents solar panels from producing solar energy would slide off from the PV array itself.
PV arrays are good for producing renewable electricity, but there is a severe avalanche on your roof.
To avoid large sheets of snow from being accumulated on the rooftop snow guards, snow pads, and snow rails are used. These can be installed on the roofing material or solar panels themselves.
Types of Snow Guards:
A snow pad is a small bracket. It usually installs in between each solar panel.
These brackets slow down the process of melting and sliding snow and ice. Thus, it reduces the threat of sudden avalanches.
The continuous bracket attached to the bottom side of the solar PV panel system is called the snow rail.
Clamp-on Snow Guards:
These are attached at the edges of solar panels or in between them. Clamp-on snow guards help release small patches of snow slowly. They also can keep the snow on solar panels until it melts naturally.
Keep in mind if you use clamp-on solar guards that hold ice on solar panels until it melts, the chances of the efficiency of a PV system to produce solar energy somewhat decrease.
Screws on clamps are used to install Alpine snow guards on the surface of the solar panel frame. Alpine snow guards are usually available in two different models and are made from recycled materials.
The Solar Snow Max:
The Solar Snow Max is designed to install on both portrait and landscape PV cell arrays. They maintain a low profile to allow the solar energy system to continue collecting solar energy.
This snow guard can hold snow and ice up to 50 pounds per square foot. These snow guards are perfect for areas with moderate snow.
The Solar Snow Pad:
The Solar Snow Pad allows snow and ice to gather on the surface of the panels, drop and slowly slide them off in an orderly manner.
Snow panel shading is prevented by using these solar snow guards. These are installed using a T-nut clamp in the horizontal joints between the consecutive Photovoltaic array.
These snow guards are usually the best choice for tiered roofs and larger solar installs.
Color Guard is attached using a round point screw that allows a penetration-free clamp. They hold the solar energy system securely and without damaging the ends of the panels.
These snow guards are usually of the same color as your roof. The color guard would be green in color if the color of your roof is green. This intensive green roof is used for an attractive look. These color guards maintain their color for almost 30 years.
Snow Breaker Snow Guard:
The Snow Breaker is designed in such a way as to break snow and ice into small pieces before it slides off from the panel’s roof.
They are usually installed with the help of snow-safe adhesive material or clamps that prevents roof stress and leaks.
The capacity of a snow breaker snow guard is 1379 pounds with adhesives and 3459 pounds when attached with clamps.
Snow fence Snow Guard:
Snow fence Snow Guard is attached to the tile roof, metal roof, or wood roof separately from the PV system to diminish the impact of solar itself.
Such snow guards can be installed easily before and after the installation process. These are installed at the eave of your roof and ingurgitate down. In this way, they could collect snow as it is shed down from the panels.
They usually require an area of 18-24 inches between the solar energy system and the roof eave.
Snow guards are usually a good choice for areas that face winter snow. If you are looking for solar installation in such an area, ask about snowy guards too.
It will increase your upfront cost of solar installation but save you and your loved ones from sudden snow and ice-related accidents. SolarSME installs snow guards with solar PV panels that serve as a barrier to roof avalanches. Light snow that accumulates on solar panels melts off quickly in the presence of sunlight.