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How to Prepare Your Commercial and Residential Solar Panels for the Winter

Winter’s coming, and with it will come snow, sleet, freezing temperatures, and everything that entails. As you might expect, these elements could have a negative impact on your commercial and residential solar panels. 

This is why you need to supply your commercial and residential solar panels with maintenance. How do you get your home’s solar panels ready for winter? We’re going to tell you below. 

Without further ado, here’s how to handle winter preparation for solar panels. 

Trim Your Tree Branches

Do you have trees overhanging your roof? If so, you’re strongly advised to trim up your tree branches prior to the winter weather rolling in. 

See, long tree branches have the potential to snap off and fall due to freezing. If these tree branches land on your solar panels, they could do substantial damage. Therefore, you need to reduce the risk of them snapping as much as possible. 

The key is to trim them. Shorter tree branches are stronger tree branches. They’re much less susceptible to snapping and will therefore be better for the solar panels that sit below them. 

Remove Lingering Snow

This is not a preparatory maintenance step but a defensive one. If your solar panels become covered in snow, and that snow doesn’t fall off on its own, you’re going to have to remove it yourself

Solar panels will not absorb UV rays when covered in snow. In essence, snow renders solar panels useless. 

Now, how do you remove snow from solar panels? Your best bet is to use a soft, foam-headed snow broom. Get on a ladder and drag the broom over the panels, pulling snow along with it. 

When doing this, try not to apply too much pressure. You don’t want to scratch or crack the glass on the front of the panels. Do this as needed throughout the winter, and your commercial property or home should be able to secure solar energy on a regular basis. 

Adjust the Angle of the Panels

If your solar panels are adjustable, you should alter their angles so that they’re more directly facing sunlight throughout each day. After all, the positioning of the sun is different in the winter than what it is during the fall. 

Study the sun in the coming weeks to see where it most commonly sits. Then, adjust your panels accordingly.

You want the sun to make as much contact as possible. The more contact it makes, the more solar energy you’ll have and the more use you’ll get out of your solar panels overall. 

The more use you get out of your solar panels, the more money you’ll save on energy costs. 

Assess Your Battery

If your solar panels are off-grid, they use a battery in order to do their job. Unfortunately, winter water entails harsh cold. Harsh cold and batteries don’t mix well and can often result in the battery running out of juice. 

Therefore, before winter sets in, you want to assess your battery to ensure that it’s going to get through the winter. Ideally, your batter will be installed inside of your home. If it’s not, you might want to consider insulating it so as to keep it as warm as possible. 

In addition, you should ensure that you’ve properly replenished your battery. Most solar panel batteries require some form of maintenance in order to keep them going. This maintenance should be performed prior to the nasty weather coming around. 

If you have a lead-acid battery, you should be adding water to it every 2 to 4 weeks. You should also equalize its cells every 2 to 3 months. This can be done by overcharging it and measuring its charge with a hydrometer. 

If you use an absorbent glass mat or 12V lithium battery, you’ll only need to make sure that it’s charged at the beginning of the winter season. For all 3 batteries, you should ensure that their terminals are cleaned. This will help to prevent corrosion, thus ensuring that the battery makes it through the grueling winter. 

Be Mindful of the Energy You’re Using

While solar panels will still do a good job of creating energy during the winter months, they won’t do as good a job as they did in the spring, summer, and fall. Therefore, your home will have to use more energy from either the power grid or your own personal generator. 

In other words, the winter months will likely drive up your energy costs. Now, you could just take the hit and pay these extra costs. On the other hand, you could try to counteract them by being particularly mindful of your energy usage. 

For instance, you could adjust your thermostat throughout each day so as to keep electric heating usage to a minimum. Or, you could make sure that the lights are turned off in each of your rooms whenever they’re not being used. 

Obviously, you shouldn’t make any substantial sacrifices. However, there are likely aspects of your energy usage that aren’t entirely necessary. Cut these out, and you’ll hardly see a spike in your energy costs at all. 

Looking to Install Commercial and Residential Solar Panels in Indiana?

Are you interested in installing commercial and residential solar panels in Indiana? If so, we here at Huston Solar are the people to see. 

We’ve installed solar panels on countless homes and businesses throughout the Hoosier State. Regardless of your building’s size or energy needs, we can accommodate you. 

Contact us today to get the ball rolling! 

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