How will your photovoltaic (PV) system withstand Colorado’s snowy winters? Pretty well! The truth is that solar panels are built to last decades, and part of their appeal is that they have no need for annual winterproofing or maintenance.

Can ice and snow damage solar panels?

snowy solar panels on the roof of a house

The biggest cause of winter damage to many structures is the weight of accumulated snow and ice coupled with strong winds that also pile on the pressure. While solar panels may appear to be delicate pieces of technology, all solar panels are designed to handle a large amount stress and are thus unlikely to be on the receiving end of crushing damage from adverse weather conditions. However, each line of panels comes with a different pressure rating, and stronger panels can be more expensive. It’s important to work with an expert to pick the right panels for your climate, both to make sure you aren’t overspending and that your panels last for decades to come.

Can winter storms cause “glitches” and other interruptions in power?

When solar panels are completely blocked with ice and snow, they become unable to generate power. This is one reason why panels are generally installed at an angle. Additionally, panels generate a lot of heat and often melt frozen accumulation on their own. However, in some cases they may need to be manually cleared off, which is relatively easy to do.

It’s also important to remember that even the worst snow blockage has no more effect on your access to power than does nightfall or a summer storm. When your system and home are properly connected to the power grid, there should be no interruptions unless your municipal energy provider or its power lines are having issues. A serious winter storm’s worst impact on your home energy system is likely to be a slightly elevated electric bill.

Will winter weather hurt my system’s effectiveness?

While the sun may not seem strong during the winter months, keep in mind that solar energy systems generate electricity fromlight not heat. Under the right conditions, solar panels are actually more effective during the colder months. There may be little less sun due to shorter days, but Colorado’s winter sun shines bright. That’s part of the reason why we’re one of the top states for solar energy production. Notably, other top states, such as Massachusetts, have much harsher winters than we do here.

But how can a PV system work better during the winter? Electronics in general run much more efficiently at cold temperatures. This means that a properly designed system has the capability of producing more energy per hour than it does during the summer, compensating for shorter days. Additionally, snow on the ground reflects light like a mirror, focusing the sun back onto panels for an extra boost.

How can ARE Solar help?

Even though all solar panels are built tough, designing and installing PV systems has no one-size-fits-all approach. And that’s one of the many reasons is why it’s important to find an installer who understands your local climate and personal energy needs. Our experts at Solar have spent years successfully installing custom PV systems throughout Colorado. If you’re thinking about installing solar panels or have questions about an existing system’s winter performance, consider contacting us today!