Do Solar Panels Work In The Snow Or Cold?

Short answer: Yes! Solar panels are actually more efficient in cold temperatures and lose only a small amount of their yearly power production potential when covered in snow.

Long answer: Many Canadians may be uncomfortable about switching to solar power because they are unsure about whether or not their solar panels will work during the Canadian winter – particularly when it’s snowing.

Well, luck for you the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) has been researching the effects of snowfall on roof mounted solar panels since 2014.

Here are some photo’s of their research setup:

Solar Panels After Snow Event

Solar Panels Covered In Snow

Solar Panels Before Snow

Solar Array for Snow Experiment

Solar Panels After Clearing

Solar Panels Cleared of Snow

You can view LIVE data from this ongoing experiment by clicking here.

Research Summary

  • A 4/12 pitch roof (18.43°) will produce 5.3% more power per year
  • A 6/12 pitch roof (26.57°) will produce 4.1% more power per year
  • On a year round basis, solar panels at 53° generates the most power with or without snow clearing
  • On a year to year basis, fluctuations in cloud and snow cover can change your system output by 17% (regardless of snow clearing)

What This Means For You

This means that natural fluctuations in weather over the course of a year can account 3x more change in output than what you can save by clearing snow.

Keeping you panels clear of snow can increase your production by up to 5.3%, but it’s not something to worry about.

For more reading check out our interview that we did with the Blue Heron EcoHaus (It has some nice snowy photos).

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