A Snow Removal System for Solar PanelsEngineering360 News Desk | July 06, 2018
Energy startup NextStep Electric has just launched its (Solar)PanelWarmer designed to simplify snow removal from solar panels.
In order to remove snow, panel owners have until now risked voiding their warranty or even breaking the panel itself. Snow removal methods included snow rakes, hosing the panels down and even using Nerf balls to knock snow off of the panels. Solar farms were compelled to pay hundreds of thousands to have their snow removed by people using snow rakes, which proved both inefficient and expensive.
The simple solution introduced by NextStep Electric in partnership with STEP Heat is easy to retrofit to any size panel and keeps solar systems active after each snow storm. The UL certified (Solar)PanelWarmer can be operated manually or by use of a thermal trigger. Recent tests have shown five pounds of ice per foot melting in just under three hours and the temperature is kept to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
When operating, the panel warmer uses approximately 150 W/hr per panel at full capacity of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and less if the panel is maintained at a lower temperature. Three hours is the most time needed to remove standing snow and no battery is needed.