Sunday, January 9, 2022

Snow Belt Solar Secret

The salesman never mentioned snow! We knew snow would shut down the panels and knew that we could blow snow because we have used leaf blowers for fireline construction and snow removal for decades. Your blower can move snow without scratching the panels, and that is an important benefit. Think about and plan for snow removal when you plan your solar panel installation.

There is an important safety issue that you should know when you are using a blower to move snow. Wind blown snow generates static electricity, and if you touch the panel framework while blowing you are going to feel the burn of a constant static discharge. It can make your heart go out of rhythm. I found these facts myself last year when blowing 3-4 inches off the panels. My heart settled down and ran right after a while, but it can be worrisome, maybe worse. Don't belly up to the panels while blowing snow!


millerized said...

Check your grounding. While you probably (at least you should) have a good ground on the panels, the air moving through the blower while insulated from the ground by boots and a layer of snow will make YOU a pretty solid source of juice. A simple copper wire wrapped around your boot and up to the blower might help take it down where it belongs.

Also, if installed correctly, the ground for the panels should be something more than just the legs stuck in the ground or concrete. If an NEC compliant ground rod was installed, take a 5gal bucket of salt water and pour it around the ground rod. The salt helps with keeping it from freezing and prevents all the moisture from going away (it draws moisture to it)
Winter dries the soil and makes for a poor reason I never installed one horizontal. Some installations required a star ground, and at least a yearly megger test and salt bucket per leg if they failed.

David aka True Blue Sam said...

Thank you! Blowing snow off the driveway and firewood will energize you, too!. I only had an inch in the driveway and didn't have any static trouble, so I was running without a ground strap. Last winter I blew some 4 inch snow, and I had to shut down and ground myself.

John in Philly said...

A couple of years ago we tried using an 18 volt yard blower to clear a light and powdery snowfall from the car in the driveway.
We never got a chance to find out how it worked, because the starting torque of the motor shattered the area where the shaft is attached to the impeller.
Nope, no impeller in the parts list.
We will try the blowing thing again, but we will first bring the blower into the house and warm it up.
Life is just full of lessons!