The SNOW Factor: Rooftop PV vs SolaBlock

The Snow Factor

Ever wonder what happens to solar panels when they get covered in snow? If you live in the Northern half of the US, you’ve probably noticed that snow and cold weather makes everyday life a little less efficient. Getting up earlier to shovel the driveway, slippery roads, having to wear extra layers, and using more energy to heat the house! Well as it turns out, that extra energy you need to heat the house isn’t coming from your solar panels, because snow coverage has a huge negative impact on your rooftop solar panel’s output.

But it wasn’t until recently that this was considered as a factor for the annual power output of conventional photovoltaics (PV). As it turns out, depending on where you are in the US, snow coverage can cause up to and beyond 20% losses. You might not be getting what you thought from your solar.

As you can see in the map above, snow coverage affects solar output to varying degrees across the country, but the energy losses really start to get significant the further you go north. Even a tiny patch of snow on the bottom of a panel can cause the whole panel to go offline. But that’s rooftop, how about SolaBlock?

The vertical orientation of a SolaBlock system means that snow coverage is very minimal; it’s a wall after all! Each SolaBlock is also designed to minimize any accidental bypass loss of surface area, triggered by a covered portion of the panel. SolaBlock wall systems do not suffer the same fate due to snow coverage as rooftop panels, in fact, it ends up being quite the opposite!

It turns out that snow coverage is one of the most light reflective surfaces there is, so in a snowy situation, that means your SolaBlock will generate even more power! We’re talking up to a 25% gain for locations at latitudes 45 degrees and above. So in northern climates around the world, SolaBlock performs as good as or even better than conventional rooftop PV. Did I mention that colder temperatures help SolaBlock last even longer and run even more efficiently? It’s a winner in the winter.

Want more details on snow-coverage with rooftop solar and SolaBlock? Check out our full study here

-Nathan & SolaBlock