Taking a cue from Germany
Germany is the world leader in solar energy. It is also a snowy, cold winter climate, but that’s not stopping them from going solar. Solar panels still function in snow. As long as sunlight is not blocked the solar panels will continue to generate power.
So, how exactly does snow affect your solar panels and their energy output?
Solar panels are surprisingly resilient.
Snow buildup on solar panels melts quicker than the surrounding snow because of a mirror effect caused by the reflective properties of the solar panels and the snow on the ground. With heavier snow, panels can be designed at an angle to allow the snow to slip off naturally. This also helps to clean the solar panel, which in turn increases their efficiency and energy output.
Oddly, the reflection from the snow reflecting sunlight back to the panel, it can often provide more sunlight during the winter, thus producing more energy. In fact, it has been reported that commercial buildings in snowy, cold climates have seen higher efficiency in their solar systems than similar systems in the warm, summer climates.
Special note: your total energy usage is determined over the course of the entire year, not just the winter months. This means differences in output during the winter are compensated for at other times in the year, so in effect, light snowfall does not drastically affect your total energy output.
It makes sense for the business owners to go solar even in winter climates. Optimzing output comes down pairing the right commercial installer with your climate. If they are good, they will mazimize your energy output