So you've gotten ahead of the times and installed solar panels on your roof. You reaped the benefits all summer long and even managed to collect a little revenue from producing more energy than you consumed. But now the natural resource that's been providing your home with energy all summer is becoming scarce. Winter is here, and the sun is covered under a thick shroud of clouds. Are you doomed to freeze in your home? Of course not. Here's what to do instead.
1. Adjust the Angle
The Earth's angle in relation to the sun has changed, and for your panels to capture whatever sun rays they can get, they'll need optimal exposure. Steepen the angle so that your panels "sit up" a little more now that the sun is low. This may also prevent snow from accumulating on the panels. Did you know that your solar panels are also less efficient on the hottest days? Check out the video below by a solar-panel owner who shares his experience during the Pennsylvania winter.
Related: Solar Panels Can Add Up to 4.1% to Your Home Value
2. Reduce Energy Usage
Effortless Steps to Reduce Energy Usage
As the days are shorter now, you can expect your solar panels to produce less energy than they did in the summer. You can pay a higher utility bill (which is almost inevitable, especially during the holiday season), or take some measures to reduce energy usage:
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Turn off and unplug any unused appliances and chargers. Remember - as long as the little service light is on, the device consumes energy.
- Reinforce your home's insulation - the more heat escapes, the more money escapes from your wallet.
3. Watch the Solar Batteries
Most batteries don't work at low temperatures. Check the manufacturer's manual to be sure. You can also store the solar batteries inside. If you don't have space, make sure to monitor the temperature.
4. Rake Away the Snow
While snow does easily slide off of the panels, as demonstrated in the video, it can sometimes accumulate and prevent your panels from working. If you're concerned about snow suddenly falling from your roof, you can install a snow guard.
When there's a thick enough layer, all you have to do is rake it away with a dedicated soft snow brush. An abrasive brush or a rake may damage your panels.