How should I care for my solar panels in winter?
During the winter, the sun doesn’t make it as high in the sky during the day; as a result, your solar panels will give less output in winter because there is less energy available for them to absorb. Snow accumulation can also impede your solar panels’ ability to absorb the sun’s energy. While it might be tempting to hunker down and hibernate during the winter months, continuing to care for your solar panels is a necessity if you want to continue to benefit from them during the frosty days.
But have no fear – BCS Cleaning Utah are here! Our solar panel experts have created a few simple steps for you to follow in caring for your solar panels during the chillier months. While some of these might seem blindingly obvious, sometimes the obvious things are the ones that tend to be forgotten or delayed. So here are our top tips for keeping your solar panels shipshape during winter!
1. Conserve Energy
We can just feel the collective sigh here! While conserving energy is definitely a hot topic at the moment, it’s not exciting to do (who wants to traipse around the house turning off light switches?). But with a titch of forbearance, there are a few things you can do to keep your solar panels producing energy at their tippets-top best:
- Turn off lights when you don’t need them (we’ll just get that one out of the way at the beginning!).
- Make sure your house is insulated. Poor insulation results in ineffective heat-retention, which in turn will place more load on your solar panels.
- This principle also applies to other areas where heat can escape. For example, make sure to close the damper when your fireplace is not in use, use thermal curtains to contain heat and check your air ducts early in the season for any leaks.
- Use energy efficient lightbulbs. A 15-watt energy-efficient CFL can give you the same light output as a 60-watt standard bulb. Plus it’ll save you a whopping 75% in energy consumption. Woohoo!
2. Care for your batteries
Since your solar panels’ deep cycle batteries are the source of all your power (storage and output), it makes sense to maintain them, especially during winter’s harsher months. Here are a few things you can do:
- If batteries are not installed indoors, make sure that the battery compartment is properly insulated, as lead-acid batteries can freeze at subzero temperatures.
- For off-grid solar systems, make sure you have enough anti-freeze distilled-water on-hand for the batteries, as well as keeping a close eye on the water levels.
- Check your battery voltage regularly. If it falls below 12 Volts DC, you will need to charge your batteries.
3. Adjust the angle of your panels
This was one of those ‘duh!’ moments for us – it seems so logical when you think about it. One reason why your panels don’t receive enough sunlight during the winter is often simply that the sun is at a lower angle throughout most of the day. To easily adjust for this, use an adjustable rack to modify your panels at a 15-degree angle.
4. Scrape off excess snow
It stands to reason, if your solar panels are covered in snow, they’re not going to offer much in the way of light-absorption capabilities. Snow often takes care of its own removal once the weather warms up a day or two after the storm, but if cold temperatures linger, so may the snow and ice encrusting your solar panels.
If your panels are high up on your rooftop, please don’t risk trying to clean them yourself. In this situation, the easiest and safest solution is to call in the professionals at BCS to clean your panels for you. We have the specialist equipment and training to make sure your panels get cleaned right and restored to their peak operating capacity.
Give our specialists a call today at 801 561 1730. We’ll set your solar panels to rights in a jiffy!
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