Panels in the Winter

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JRHill
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Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

"I'd be concerned about controlling uneven expansion of materials that might cause stress on cells and cover glass.
I've been trying to find some data on such an application, but can't find any which tells me "Danger Will Robinson, Danger"
This subject deserves its own thread. I propose General Talk. Starting it now. "Panels in the Winter"

This is a place for inventive solutions to snow covered panels.
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

A quick scan of the internet finds scant articles on the subject, mostly echoing each other ("The 5 ways to remove snow from solar panels.")

The commercial offerings are mostly around reverse feeding DC current to the panels, heating the cells' P-N junctions, but precious little about equipment itself, or costs. I assume its all geared toward commercial installations.

I floated the heat cable idea, but don't know how effective it would be, or how fine of heating control could be achieved.

Another idea might be recirculating hot water (the plumbing which could recirculate cold water in summer.) Again, even distribution and efficacy is an open question.
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by provo »

I don't get a lot of snow, maybe 8" two or three times each winter, but I've thought a few times of tossing tarps over the panels before a big snow (you're not going to get any sun anyway) and just pulling them off when the storm is over (maybe with ropes if on a roof -- mine are pole-mount).

At least the snow wouldn't freeze onto the glass that way -- may be irrelevant for those who get 3 feet at a time...
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

buildup2.jpg
OK, this is the extreme for us. But it happens. (BTW after another week the snow almost reached the roof line).

Being in south central WA its fairly moderate but it can get really cold and freeze hard - sticking to the steel. This means to keep build up off the lower pitch so the snow can slide off. But getting the snow off the panels is a PITB.

On a normal day and even if overcast there is enough UV that even if a part of the panel is exposed it will slowly and increasingly heat and cause the snow to melt and slide off.

Lord knows I've pondered solutions to climbing the ladder. Heat tape? How about a long duct from the genset to blow heat up and under the panels? How about moving to HI?
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by provo »

I'm at 38° latitude, and it hasn't escaped my notice that the great majority of solar panels in the world are WAY further south than mine!
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

provo wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 10:43 am I don't get a lot of snow, maybe 8" two or three times each winter, but I've thought a few times of tossing tarps over the panels before a big snow (you're not going to get any sun anyway) and just pulling them off when the storm is over (maybe with ropes if on a roof -- mine are pole-mount).

At least the snow wouldn't freeze onto the glass that way -- may be irrelevant for those who get 3 feet at a time...
This was also a consideration for us, but to get the covers over the panels requires the use of a ladder in my case. Then, we have substantial wind prior to the snows that come here in the mountains. I've covered wood stacks with tarps in the past and in veritably, the wind blows them off (even though they are tied on). I've even thought of retractable shade, but can't figure out the mechanism to make them work remotely so that a ladder is not involved.
jainsw
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My RE system: My setup is a 48v system and is comprised of the following components:
12-ES190 Evergreen solar panels-pole mount non-auto tracking, 4 220 Volt GE panels fixed mount
12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
1-Outback FM60 PV Charge controller 60a MPPT, 12-60 vdc. 60a output
1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
1-Outback VFX3648 3.6kw, 120vac output
1-Mate3s with OpticsRE
1-Outback Hub
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7-SimpliPhi 3.8-48v-75Ah Lithium batteries

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 10:49 am buildup2.jpg
OK, this is the extreme for us. But it happens. (BTW after another week the snow almost reached the roof line).

Being in south central WA its fairly moderate but it can get really cold and freeze hard - sticking to the steel. This means to keep build up off the lower pitch so the snow can slide off. But getting the snow off the panels is a PITB.

On a normal day and even if overcast there is enough UV that even if a part of the panel is exposed it will slowly and increasingly heat and cause the snow to melt and slide off.

Lord knows I've pondered solutions to climbing the ladder. Heat tape? How about a long duct from the genset to blow heat up and under the panels? How about moving to HI?

Interesting idea of using the exhaust from the genset to blow onto the panels. Our generator is about 12 feet away from these panels and the panels are about 12' higher than the generator. Hummm, trying to noodle through that setup...
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

How about moving to HI?
100% effective solution.
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

jainsw wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:29 am Interesting idea of using the exhaust from the genset to blow onto the panels. Our generator is about 12 feet away from these panels and the panels are about 12' higher than the generator. Hummm, trying to noodle through that setup...
At my previous place (no RE) we had a 12kW 4 cylinder old Onan if the power went out. Did test runs with it. The waste heat from the air cooled critter melted the snow all the way to the shop, 50' away. I keep thinking of that. It would've heated the shop AND the house just with the waste heat. Well, times are different now.

But to your point, Generator Line has the stuff: https://generator-line.com/enclosure-exhaust-systems/
The way it looks it would also do the air cooling outlet through a duct, if one can separate the engine exhaust from the cooling. Greenhouse? Shop?* Panels? NOT INSIDE*. I'm not sure if this is just engine exhaust or cooling exhaust.

I have a Miller Bobcat in the shop. It's exhaust goes outside. But whether a test run, a welding project, etc., that thing can break the chill and warm a 36x48 metal building. Its a bit of a sin to waste resources as long as you kill yourself doing it.

I still ponder this. But be really careful in your planning
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:48 am
How about moving to HI?
100% effective solution.
I've heard the neighbors are, well, curious.
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:56 am
raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:48 am
How about moving to HI?
100% effective solution.
I've heard the neighbors are, well, curious.
Heh! Your's aren't?
JRHill
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:02 pm
JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:56 am
raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:48 am
100% effective solution.
I've heard the neighbors are, well, curious.
Heh! Your's aren't?
I'm the only problem. Everybody else is normal.
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REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:08 pm
raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:02 pm
JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:56 am

I've heard the neighbors are, well, curious.
Heh! Your's aren't?
I'm the only problem. Everybody else is normal.
:lol:
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12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
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1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:08 pm
raysun wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 12:02 pm
JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 11:56 am

I've heard the neighbors are, well, curious.
Heh! Your's aren't?
I'm the only problem. Everybody else is normal.
I'm the same kind of different as you it would appear.
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

Anyway, we are looking for the magic bullet to clear panels or keep them clear.

No one has mentioned magic glass solutions that shed water and freezing rain. Oh, and the stuff has to be sprayed from a distance.

This may sound stupid but has anyone tried a pressure washer. 55f water would melt and wash the snow off. Hmm?
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by Mike Curran »

Avalanche Original Roof Snow Removal System In Use
https://www.amazon.com/vdp/0912757d5de0 ... HvxbNrNZnP

They claim this can work on solar panels also.
https://ei.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

Mike Curran wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:02 pm Avalanche Original Roof Snow Removal System In Use
https://www.amazon.com/vdp/0912757d5de0 ... HvxbNrNZnP

They claim this can work on solar panels also.
That's a good one. I saw it years ago but not recently.
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 1:45 pm Anyway, we are looking for the magic bullet to clear panels or keep them clear.

No one has mentioned magic glass solutions that shed water and freezing rain. Oh, and the stuff has to be sprayed from a distance.

This may sound stupid but has anyone tried a pressure washer. 55f water would melt and wash the snow off. Hmm?
I'd be real careful about any glass treating chemical (RainX style and similar). They may play hob with any anti-reflection/transmissive coating the manufacturer applied to the panel surface.
jainsw
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My RE system: My setup is a 48v system and is comprised of the following components:
12-ES190 Evergreen solar panels-pole mount non-auto tracking, 4 220 Volt GE panels fixed mount
12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
1-Outback FM60 PV Charge controller 60a MPPT, 12-60 vdc. 60a output
1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
1-Outback VFX3648 3.6kw, 120vac output
1-Mate3s with OpticsRE
1-Outback Hub
1-Outback FNDC
7-SimpliPhi 3.8-48v-75Ah Lithium batteries

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 1:45 pm Anyway, we are looking for the magic bullet to clear panels or keep them clear.

No one has mentioned magic glass solutions that shed water and freezing rain. Oh, and the stuff has to be sprayed from a distance.

This may sound stupid but has anyone tried a pressure washer. 55f water would melt and wash the snow off. Hmm?
I have and it's a mess, especially with temps well below freezing. Even then it cuts through the snow like a knife, but doesn't melt it so that it comes off and you end up having to spray for awhile (in freezing weather) to clear the panels. Not worth the pain.
jainsw
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Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:54 am
My RE system: My setup is a 48v system and is comprised of the following components:
12-ES190 Evergreen solar panels-pole mount non-auto tracking, 4 220 Volt GE panels fixed mount
12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
1-Outback FM60 PV Charge controller 60a MPPT, 12-60 vdc. 60a output
1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
1-Outback VFX3648 3.6kw, 120vac output
1-Mate3s with OpticsRE
1-Outback Hub
1-Outback FNDC
7-SimpliPhi 3.8-48v-75Ah Lithium batteries

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

Mike Curran wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:02 pm Avalanche Original Roof Snow Removal System In Use
https://www.amazon.com/vdp/0912757d5de0 ... HvxbNrNZnP

They claim this can work on solar panels also.
I currently have been using this one from a ladder as my ground slopes away from the house.
https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Joe-RJ204M- ... 214&sr=8-5
raysun
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Outback IBR3 battery enclosure
REC Alpha 440W panels - 2 arrays: each of 4 strings of 2 in series
Honda EU7000is gas fuel generator

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by raysun »

How about this? A widely adapted and proven method around the world: https://youtu.be/RRUZCdTywUk
jainsw
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Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:54 am
My RE system: My setup is a 48v system and is comprised of the following components:
12-ES190 Evergreen solar panels-pole mount non-auto tracking, 4 220 Volt GE panels fixed mount
12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
1-Outback FM60 PV Charge controller 60a MPPT, 12-60 vdc. 60a output
1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
1-Outback VFX3648 3.6kw, 120vac output
1-Mate3s with OpticsRE
1-Outback Hub
1-Outback FNDC
7-SimpliPhi 3.8-48v-75Ah Lithium batteries

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

:lol: :lol: :lol: you know if it weren't for those pesky neighbors in the next county...
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Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by JRHill »

jainsw wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:56 pm
Mike Curran wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:02 pm Avalanche Original Roof Snow Removal System In Use
https://www.amazon.com/vdp/0912757d5de0 ... HvxbNrNZnP

They claim this can work on solar panels also.
I currently have been using this one from a ladder as my ground slopes away from the house.
https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Joe-RJ204M- ... 214&sr=8-5
Thanks. I ordered this. As I mentioned I have used an extending pole window washer and I exchanged the scrub/rubber with a piece piece of 7/16 plywood with a rubber squeegee. It's a bit heavy at 20' out and lands harder than I would like during use. I keep telling the DW she needs to lift some weights but she says she is too tired after spitting the firewood. Sigh. What's a guy to do?
jainsw
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Posts: 430
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:54 am
My RE system: My setup is a 48v system and is comprised of the following components:
12-ES190 Evergreen solar panels-pole mount non-auto tracking, 4 220 Volt GE panels fixed mount
12-Hanwha Q Peak 300watt panels
1-Outback FM60 PV Charge controller 60a MPPT, 12-60 vdc. 60a output
1-Outback FM80 PV CC, 80a MPPT
1-Outback VFX3648 3.6kw, 120vac output
1-Mate3s with OpticsRE
1-Outback Hub
1-Outback FNDC
7-SimpliPhi 3.8-48v-75Ah Lithium batteries

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by jainsw »

JRHill wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 3:31 pm
jainsw wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:56 pm
Mike Curran wrote: Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:02 pm Avalanche Original Roof Snow Removal System In Use
https://www.amazon.com/vdp/0912757d5de0 ... HvxbNrNZnP

They claim this can work on solar panels also.
I currently have been using this one from a ladder as my ground slopes away from the house.
https://www.amazon.com/Snow-Joe-RJ204M- ... 214&sr=8-5

Thanks. I ordered this. As I mentioned I have used an extending pole window washer and I exchanged the scrub/rubber with a piece piece of 7/16 plywood with a rubber squeegee. It's a bit heavy at 20' out and lands harder than I would like during use. I keep telling the DW she needs to lift some weights but she says she is too tired after spitting the firewood. Sigh. What's a guy to do?
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Are you old enough to remember HeeHaw? "put another log on the fire, cook me up some bacon and some beans..."
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Mike Curran
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Posts: 2770
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 6:28 pm
My RE system: Outback - Garage roof:
- 8 (2x4) Evergreen 180's into one FM80 (2007/2020 - replaced MX60)
- 6 (2×3) ALEO S79-300's into one FM80 (2017)
- 2 grid-tied VFXR3524A-01's series stacked, replaced GVFX's (2020)
- 12 Surrette/Rolls 2V x 1766Ah (2007)
- Hub10.3, Mate3s, FNDC, RTS. Tigo ES maximizers on each PV module.

Westinghouse Solar - Barn roof: (2012)
- 30 (2x15) 235W panels with Enphase M215 microinverters, grid-tied

Outback Skybox - Barn roof: (2019)
- 14 Talesun 275W in series (DC array input to SB inverter/charger)
- 3 SimpliPhi 3.8 batteries, 48V, 225Ah total
- AC coupled input from 14 Talesun 275W, Enphase M215 microinverters

Battery systems operate in grid-tied, net metering w/backup mode
All self-designed and self-installed
Location: Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Re: Panels in the Winter

Post by Mike Curran »

I used to apply RainX to my garage roof panels but never noticed any difference, so I quit. Plus, it was too much like waxing my car.
https://ei.tigoenergy.com/p/pZXn7SZQyO45
https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/Hctc107221
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