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What About Snow?

One of the questions we often get about solar in the Inland Northwest is, “how can I keep snow off my array?”

Our answer: don’t bother.

In Spokane, 82% of our annual solar production comes in just five months of the year; April through August. July is a monster, producing nearly eight times more solar power than December. So why worry about a little snow on your roof array in December, when it barely produces?

Washington’s net metering law makes this all work for you, crediting your summer power surplus against your winter utility bills. With the vast difference in day length from winter to summer, net metering is the key to making solar economics work for small system owners. (Which is why you should urge your district’s state legislators to support the Solar Fairness Act right now, to strengthen our state’s net metering.)

It’s different for off-grid systems on remote mountainsides, where snow removal does count and where there is no metering at all. However, for the grid-tied systems that make up 95% of what we install, December and January are almost irrelevant. Besides, that is no time to scale your roof, and, if you have a ground-mounted system, most snow will slide off anyway.

So spend your winter weekends skiing or curled by the fire with a good book, enjoying all the power credits you built up the previous summer and looking forward to harvesting plenty more in the sunny season ahead!