solar panels mean an extra winter chore
People who live in New England now know that we have had a snowy winter.
I like snow so overall it\'s good for me.
But the white stuff had an unexpected impact on the power output of the solar panels I installed last spring.
It\'s hard to figure out the exact impact, but my December electricity bill provided a clue: more than twice as much as last month.
The good news is that I think I \'ve come up with a system that keeps my roof panel humming full even during the snow season.
It added my-
But I think that\'s the cost of being a positive tech picker.
In general, solar photovoltaic panels do not require a lot of maintenance due to the absence of moving parts.
They usually have a warranty of 20 or 25 years.
It is a good idea to add dust and pollen in the spring or summer, as this film will reduce the light hitting the panels and reduce the amount of electricity they generate.
The shooting protesters at the Virginia Beach of Connecticut mother interrupted Harris, but snow was a completely different story.
A thick layer of snow
We have seen a lot this winter.
Electricity production can be almost eliminated.
Of course, some light can penetrate, but the panels produce only a fraction compared to their potential.
Another thing I learned: There is a little bit of snow due to the way solar panels are connected
Or the feces or leaves of birds.
Blocking only a part of an array can significantly reduce the output.
Made a phone call to my solar installer to travel to my local hardware store, and my panel and I were completely rejuvenated.
It turns out that I have never heard of one thing before --a roof rake -
This is a clutch device for people like me.
It snowed on Tuesday night and it was a sunny morning on Wednesday.
I was distracted at the thought of my overlay panel and I quickly looked at my inverter (
Convert the direct current in the panel to a machine with household alternating current)
My heart sank.
The output power is only 140 watts in the area.
On a sunny winter morning, it was about 1 out of 10 they were going to produce.
The 5 inch fluffy powder blocks all these very good photons!
Earlier this winter, I just waited for the snow to melt from the sloping roof. This works (
I suspect most sensible people will do this)
But I want to get rid of what I don\'t think is ideal.
After the previous storm, the snow finally piled up on the third at the bottom of my array, freezing badly, which had an impact on the output of the entire system.
My panel production reached its lowest point in December.
Their juice was three less than it was in August, when the panels covered a large portion of my monthly electricity consumption.
Now, I don\'t blame snow for losing productivity.
Solar panels work well in the northern climate
Let\'s say you have good exposure and lots of sunny days a year.
But the daytime is shorter in winter, which means less time during the day when panels can do their thing. (
Luxurious roof rakes.
After modification, it is good for snow solar panels, ice dams and various debris. )
The weather in winter does have some benefits.
Like other electronics, photovoltaic panels work best in the cold.
Silicon solar panels are the most common material for solar cells, and production begins to decline in very hot weather.
In theory, snow also reflects light and may eventually appear on the surface of the panel.
So I was expecting less kilowatts.
For a few hours this winter, I was still irritated by the success of the show.
After all, I spent a lot of money on these panels
Depending on the size, the installation of solar panels varies from $20,000 to $35,000 before the state and federal tax rebates
I want to make the most of the electricity they produce to get a return on investment.
I was ready on Wednesday morning.
I bought a snow rake a week ago. (
With all the snow and ice dam issues in mind, these are hot projects this year. )A snow rake -
I bought about $75.
It\'s just a flat plate with a long handle.
Run it off your roof and the snow will fall.
When I mentioned the use of rake son, the man at the hardware store cleverly suggested that I attach a squee son --
Like the strap at the bottom, so I don\'t have the risk of damaging the expensive panel.
My roof rakes can get me around 20 feet.
Actually, that means I can only clean the bottom of the panel;
I can\'t reach those things near the roof ridge. (
Be sure to watch out for the mini avalanche if you try this. )
If there were any signs of Wednesday\'s experiment, it would be much better to clean it up a little on sunny days than to do nothing.
As some panels are exposed, the current begins to flow, generating some heat on the surface of the panels and melting the snow.
So in a few hours, most of the snow melts, apparently due to the heat of the Sun and the panel itself.
If lucky, my electricity bill will go back to the level before the snowflakes start to fall.
So far, panel power generation appears to have increased by 25% in January from December, when snow jams were the worst. (
Of course, other factors will also work, such as the number of sunny days. )
I admit that I was a little focused on the situation on Wednesday morning;
I walked a few times outside and quickly cleared the snow after the snow melted and slid down the panel.
By noon, the panel is more or less clear and fully operational.
Yes, after I shovel the sidewalk in front of me, this is one more chores I need to do.
But free solar energy is a terrible waste.
Martin LaMonica is a senior author of the CNET green technology blog.
He started working in IT and Web development at CNET News in 2002.
Prior to that, he was the executive editor of The IT publication information world. E-