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Solar panels are relatively low-maintenance. Aside from ensuring that debris isn’t piling up, there really isn’t a whole lot that you need to do for them to operate normally.

Unless you live in an area that sees snow. 

During the winter months, you need to be on the constant lookout for snow accumulation. With enough of it, snow can quickly pile up on your solar panels, putting yourself and visitors at danger.

How is this possible? Well, unlike traditional roof shingles that have a rough surface, solar panels are essentially huge sheets of glass. 

Whereas snow stays in place on your roof, it tends to slide off of solar panels in huge sheets.

If there is enough snow accumulated, it could potentially fall onto unwitting passerby down below. 

And depending on the location of your solar panels, this could blanket your freshly-shoveled walkway with a new layer of snow.

Fortunately, solar panel snow guards can prevent this from happening, thereby protecting your family and keeping you from having to continually shovel your walkway.

snow-covered roof
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What Exactly Are Snow Guards?

Solar panel snow guards are a simple yet effective piece of hardware that keeps snow from sliding off your solar panels in large sheets. 

Installation is typically easy and straightforward. The snow guards often attach to solar panels by way of a bracket system. Once installed, no additional upkeep should be needed.

Most snow guards are installed at the edge of solar panels, keeping large sheets of snow from sliding off all at once. 

There are several design choices available, too. So you can choose the style of the snow guards to better match your home.

How They Work

Most snow guards are designed to allow a small amount of snow to slide off of your solar panels over time. This ensures that your solar panels stay free of snow, allowing them to work with the sun’s rays.

It will take longer for the snow to fall off compared to solar panels without snow guards. But it’s a much safer alternative that ensures the safety of people walking below.

Do You Need Snow Guards?

Whether you actually need snow guards depends on a few factors. First of all, you need to think about where you live.

If you live in an area with a warm climate and you never see snow, obviously, snow guards are out of the question.

If you see very little snowfall over the winter months, you need to think about justifying the cost of buying snow guards and having them installed on your solar panels. 

If you do live somewhere that sees snowfall, it’s important to ask yourself how often you get enough that could potentially pose a threat to people. Remember, there needs to be a considerable amount of accumulation before you’re really looking at an issue.

With that being said, it’s wise to take ice into the consideration, as well. Snow guards could prevent a sheet of ice from falling onto you or a loved one. 

But people aren’t the only thing you want to think about. If you have a vehicle parked by your solar panels, snow guards could save you from having to clean off your car as frequently. 

And if you deal with a lot of ice during the winter months, snow guards could save your vehicle from major damage. 

If you are interested in solar panel snow guards, you also want to factor in the location of your panels. If they are positioned on your roof in a way that the falling sheets of snow won’t affect you, there may be no need for guards.

And if your solar panels are ground-mounted, snow guards are likely to be useless to you.

If the above concerns don’t apply to you, it may be best to forego solar panel snow guards. By allowing the snow to fall off all at once, your panels will be freed up to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

You can look forward to reaping the benefits of your solar panels much sooner this way. But if you would rather play it safe and want to do all that you can to protect your family, snow guards are pretty reasonably-priced. 

Once they are installed, you shouldn’t have to worry about performing any upkeep on them. So if a big snowstorm comes your way, you will be adequately prepared to deal with it.

Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With solar panel snow guards being fairly affordable, you might want to go ahead and invest in them. This is especially true if you live somewhere that sees cold winter months. 

If you experience a rough winter, you can rest easy knowing that your loved ones will be protected from falling sheets of snow.

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