About photovoltaics and snow

With the boom of photovoltaic power plants in recent years, there is a question that their owners may ask: what will happen in the winter and how weather conditions will affect the operation and maintenance of their power plant.

The most common impact on the operation and operation of a photovoltaic power plant this season is the reduction of its daily production due to shorter days and less sunlight. The climatic factor at the installation site must be taken into account in the initial design of the photovoltaic plant and must be included in the economic balance of its operation.

Another important factor that affects the work and which should be included in the design of the photovoltaic plant is the snowfall, as it can significantly reduce or stop the work of the photovoltaic modules. Every photovoltaic operator must be prepared for the following two main types of snow problems:

1. When the panels are covered with snow, production will in most cases be completely stopped.

2. The installation of photovoltaic panels will reduce the overall load capacity of the roof.

Especially in the latter case, it is appropriate to check the map of the snow areas included in the attached photos.

When the slope of the roof exceeds 25 degrees, the snow automatically slides off the roof. If the slope of the roof is lower, the possible snow load must be mentioned in the design of the static solution before the actual implementation. From a static point of view, the load area of the installation site is calculated for the load of solar modules 0.15kN / m2, which is equal to 15kg / m2 of the non-prefabricated structure, which differs according to the manufacturer / type.

This load corresponds to approximately 10 – 15% of the dimensioned boundary of the building in the third snow zone. With properly sized buildings in good condition, it is unlikely that such a small load limit will endanger the roof structure. For older buildings or buildings in poor condition, we always recommend that you consult the condition of the roof with the construction company or make a static assessment.

If you are considering removing snow from the modules, you must be very careful not to damage them or the structure on which they are placed. We recommend that you use special equipment or hire a specialized company. However, if the snow does not endanger the roof structure and there is no risk of snow falling (eg on the sidewalk near the building), it is better for the snow to melt naturally.