Winter Solar Panel Maintenance Tips from your Local Solar Installer – Sandbox Solar

It is no secret that your solar panels give less output in the winter months. The sun is at a lower angle, the days are shorter, and accumulated snow sometimes covers the panels. But rest assured that the colder weather alone does not harm solar panels’ ability to generate energy. To ensure that your panels operate at their best during the winter months, follow these precautionary measures. 

4 Winter Solar Panel Maintenance Tips

Conserve energy

Your solar panels will most likely end up generating less power during the winter months (who does the sun think it is going down so early?!), so it’s a good idea to make sure you aren’t wasting any! To make up for any reduction in their output, be sure to maintain good conservation practices during the winter. This will even allow you to reap the benefits of lower energy usage during the summer months too. Here are some suggestions for conserving energy:

        • Turn the lights off when you don’t need them.
        • Invest in good insulation; poor insulation causes heat to escape from the house and will add more load onto your solar panels.
        • Unplug appliances from the wall to stop unnecessary power leaks. If plugged into the socket, devices can still draw from the grid, even when switched off.
        • Clean your air ducts and check for any leaks.
        • Close the damper on your fireplace when it is not in use.
        • Replace all lighting with energy-efficient bulbs.
        • Use thermal curtains to help keep your windows insulated.

If you have a battery backup, maintain your battery bank 

Winter preparation is a good time to perform the periodic maintenance that most batteries need for optimal longevity and performance. You will want to check with the manufacturer for specific instructions for your battery type. However, most batteries will benefit from cleaning the terminals and making sure connections are secure and charged. Here are some tips for maintaining your battery bank: 

        • Ideally, you want to have your batteries installed indoors. If they are outdoors, the compartment for the batteries should be adequately insulated. Lead-acid batteries can freeze in below-zero temperatures, so this is a crucial step. 
        • Check your battery voltage regularly. If it falls below 12 volts DC, you may need to consider installing new batteries. If you have questions reach out and one of our technicians can help. 
        • Clean your battery terminals, check their fluid and add distilled water if needed.

Adjust the angle of your panels

The angle of your solar panels plays an important role in maximizing your energy production. Depending on where you live, the best angle at which you should install solar panels will change. This is because it’s based on the average position of the sun over your property.

        • You can use an adjustable rack to modify your panels. Click here for a guide on optimal angles by zip code.
        • Reach out to us to assist you with your winter solar panel maintenance and adjustment needs.

 Scrape off any excess snow

A heavy layer of snow may take a little longer to melt for the sun to reach the panels. The simple solution is to keep the panels as clear of snow and ice as possible.

        • Keep antifreeze distilled water on hand, especially if you are off the grid.
        • Spray your panels with a hose. Be aware of temperature shifts because you want to melt the snow, not freeze it further.
        • You can sweep the panels, with a soft snow brush, being careful not to damage them. IMPORTANT SANDBOX SOLAR DISCLAIMER! You should only consider doing this if the panels are easy to access and there is no risk of a fall or other accident. 

Since 2015, Sandbox Solar has completed over 500 solar projects along the Front Range. We are passionate about everyone receiving the environmental and financial benefits possible through renewable energy generation. Proper winter solar panel maintenance is crucial to making this happen, and we are here to help. If you have questions, Contact Sandbox Solar today, and we will be happy to assist you with additional support and maintenance tips to keep your solar panels safe and effective throughout the colder Colorado months. 

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