Winter brings with it shorter days, more cloud cover, and pristine snow. For those who live in areas with snowy winter months such as New Jersey and New York, this gloomy season has a significant downside. Cold temperatures are not only responsible for lowering everyone’s mood in general but also make it so much harder to generate solar power.
While the lack of sunlight does not mean you have to shut down your solar panel system entirely during winter, preparing your panels for colder temperatures is undoubtedly a good idea.
Follow along as we share tips and techniques to prepare your solar panels in New Jersey for a hassle-free winter.
Tips and Techniques on How to Prepare Your Solar Panels for Winter
Here are some tips and techniques for preparing your solar panels for winter.
Start With a Good Cleaning Before the Cold Sets In
The first step is ensuring your system is clean before winter arrives. All of those leaves, twigs and other debris can reduce the efficiency of your system by blocking sunlight from reaching the panels or allowing debris to build up on them over time. A professional cleaning will remove all this debris, so your system works at peak performance throughout the year — especially during those long winter days when sunlight is scarce.
Adjust the Angle of Your Solar Panels
Your solar panels will function best when they are facing the sun at a steep angle. However, it is also important that they are angled downward enough so that snow will not build up on them. You can find out how much downward tilt you need by checking the manufacturer’s specifications or calling a professional.
Pay Attention to Your Battery Discharge Levels
During the colder months, it is crucial to monitor your battery discharge levels. If they drop below 50 percent, you must supplement them with an extension cord or generator. Batteries can freeze in subzero temperatures, so make sure that you check them often and top off as necessary before they reach zero percent charge.
Insulate Your Solar Batteries
Solar batteries are designed to perform best at room temperature. When the temperatures drop below freezing, you will need to insulate your solar battery to prevent damage. There are several ways you can do this.
For example, set up an enclosed area where they can sit without being exposed to wind or rain. If this is not possible, try wrapping each battery individually in bubble wrap or foam insulation material before storing them away for winter. This will help prevent any moisture from getting inside and ruining your batteries and keep them warm during those colder days.
Keep Your Generator Running With Extra Batteries on Hand
A backup generator is a great way to keep the lights on when no solar power is available. But what if the batteries in your backup generator are insufficient or need replacing? Consider installing an extra set of batteries so you will always have a backup plan in case one set dies out.
You can swap out batteries as needed throughout the year without worrying about transporting them back and forth. This will help keep your home powered up — even when no solar power is available!
Get a Thorough Inspection Done Before Winter Hits
An essential step in preparing your solar panels for winter is getting an inspection done by a professional. They will check if there are any cracks or dents in them and if there are any areas that have been compromised during installation or due to weather conditions over time.
If there are any damaged areas, they will let you know what needs to be done immediately, so they do not get worse later. This will help reduce the risk of leaks during winter and save money on repairs.
Make Sure the Trees Are Not Blocking the Sun
A common mistake made by New Jersey homeowners is not checking the trees around their property during this time of year. It is important that you make sure that no branches or leaves are blocking sunlight from reaching your solar panels. If any shade is cast over your panels, it will significantly lower their efficiency and could cause them to stop working altogether.
The best way to avoid this problem is by trimming any bushes or trees that might be blocking sunlight from reaching your solar panels. This may require hiring an expert to help you with this project if you do not have experience doing it yourself.
Keep Snow Off Your Panels
Once you are done with a thorough inspection of your solar panels by professionals, it is time to figure out how to keep snow off of them during winter. To begin with, make sure that you have enough space between each panel so that snow does not build up and create an avalanche effect down the length of your roofline.
Also, remember that even if there is only one inch of snow on top of a panel at nightfall, it can add several pounds per square foot when it melts due to heat loss. To combat this issue, always place a protective cover over your panels when they are not in use. This will help keep them clean and prevent damage to them during the winter months.
Downsides of Not Preparing Your Solar Panels for Winter
Here are some things that can happen if you do not prepare your solar panels for winter:
The most obvious example of a problem caused by winter weather is when your panels stop working altogether. Solar panels are designed to withstand the elements — rain, snow, and wind — but extreme cold can cause them to freeze or break down completely. This means that a lot of the energy your system produces will be lost if your panels are not prepared for winter conditions.
Danger of Breakage
In addition to poor functionality, winter weather can also cause damage to your solar panels. Extreme cold causes moisture to condense on their surface, leading to ice build-up and cracking if not properly treated. When this happens, a panel’s glass coverings or other components can break off entirely and fall from their mounting brackets onto the ground below them.
This can create a safety hazard for anyone walking near the site where you have installed your solar panels, as well as damage other areas of your property, such as landscaping or roofing materials.
If you do not prepare your solar panels for winter, you could be paying more on your utility bills than you need to. This is because solar panels will be generating less energy than they would have if they were adequately protected from cold weather conditions.
As a result, you may have to use more energy from your power company or a fuel generator for your home. In either case, this will lead to higher utility costs that could have been avoided if you had treated your solar panels properly before the winter season began.
Moreover, if your solar panels are not properly winterized, you can expect to pay more for repairs and replacements. The damage from extreme ice build-up can cause enough damage to your solar panels, which means that you may need to spend more later if you do not maintain them.
Key Reasons Why You Should Always Have Your Solar Panels Professionally Winterized
Here are some reasons why you should hire professionals to prepare your solar panels for winter:
The first reason you should hire professionals to prepare your solar panels for winter is that it is safer and recommended. You might think that you know what you’re doing and that there will be no problems, but this is not true.
If you do not know what you are doing or if the weather conditions are not in your favor, then there is a good chance that something could go seriously wrong and cause severe damage to your panels. You might even end up injuring yourself in the process.
A professional has a lot of knowledge about maintaining solar panels and preparing them for winter. They have more information than you do about how the weather affects your system and what kind of maintenance is required during these times. They know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done so that everything runs smoothly throughout the year without any problems whatsoever.
Moreover, hiring a solar panel services company means you will have access to knowledgeable staff members who can answer questions about how best to prepare your solar panels for winter and ensure they are ready when spring rolls around again next year.
The Right Equipment
Professionals have all the right equipment to clean, inspect and maintain your panels. They use professional-grade cleaners, brushes, and other tools to help them clean every inch of your panel without damaging it.
They know how to use each tool properly, so they do not damage the panel or any wiring connected to it. Just think about all the money you will save by hiring someone who knows what they are doing!
You might be thinking that hiring professional snow removal services means spending more money than if you did the job yourself. However, if you look at it from another perspective, it can actually save you time and money.
With the help of professionals, this task will be done in a fraction of the time it would take if you were to do it yourself. This means that instead of going through all that extra effort and energy to get rid of snow from your rooftop and solar panels, you can use that time for other productive things like working on other projects around the house or spending time with family members.
Taking the proper steps to prepare your solar panels against the elements this winter will help ensure that you have a holiday season without solar issues. The tips and suggestions above should be sufficient for most people, but if you want more guidance or need help with solar panel repair, maintenance or reinstallation, feel free to reach out to us. We have been in the solar business in New York and New Jersey for the past two decades. You can reach us at 732-785-4814 or book a consultation online.