What Happens to Solar in the Snow?

By ReVision Energy Inc. | Dec 10, 2012
Courtesy of: ReVision Energy, LLC Even under snow cover, these collectors are registering 80 degrees F!

The first step in determining whether your house is a good fit for solar energy is a solar site evaluation. One of the questions we often hear at a ReVision Energy site evaluation, especially at this time of year, is what happens to the collectors in the snow?

This above photo, taken last winter in midcoast Maine, shows what happens to evacuated tubes after a snowfall. Evacuated tubes - one of three collector options used to produce solar heated water - can be easily elevated and shed snow well in wintertime. During very snowy periods, it may take more than a few days for the snow to shed, but considering that winter is the least effective time for solar in general, we encourage homeowners to take it in stride.

The surface of solar electric panels is tempered glass, similar to that of your car windshield. This encourages the snow to slide quickly, especially in a good south-facing location, and the panels to start making electricity again.

Generally, depending on the conditions, it takes a few days for snow to completely clear the collectors. But even under this amount of snow, the solar hot water collectors pictured above were still reading 80 degrees F! Not bad for a December day.

For more information about solar technology or to schedule a site evaluation for your home, contact Jennifer at ReVision Energy at jalbee@revisionenergy.com or (207) 589-4171.

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