There is a lot of snow around the United Kingdom right now and we are not used to it. If you have solar panels on your roof – they may be PV or thermal panels because for the purposes of this article they react to snow in the same way – here are a few points you may wish to know.
- Do not get up on the roof and try and brush the snow away. I could not imagine a more dangerous activity than getting up on a slippery very cold roof.
- As temperatures get warmer the layer of snow in touch with the panels will melt from the reflected light and heat of the panels (PV panels get hot, as do thermal panels) and the snow will fall from the panels.
- Once clear of snow the panels will work surprisingly well despite the cold weather. Solar panel use all light to produce energy, not just direct sunshine and the reflected light from snow and ice will hit the panels producing electricity or heat. The limitation will be the short daylight hours, rather than the cold weather.
- If you have evacuated tubes fitted the snow will fall from these after they fall from flat panels. However cold weather will let you know if a tube has blown and needs replacing. Each tube should be covered in frost or ice as the vacuum prevents the glass from being warmed by the heat collecting device inside the tube. If the vacuum has been lost the tube will be free from frost and will need replacing.