A large part
of our business is designing snow retention systems for homes where solar
panels have been installed on existing homes.
The need for snow retention below solar panels is often times overlooked
during the solar panel installation because homeowners didn’t have any snow
slide issues prior to the installation of the solar panels.
simple really. Asphalt shingles, tile
and cedar shakes hold snow pretty well on most pitches while the smooth surface
of solar panels does not.
are the problems caused by sliding snow.
When most homeowners think about snow, they picture the fluffy stuff
that falls from the sky onto the ground.
It’s soft and usually not that heavy.
Snow that slides off of solar panels is different. It’s compacted and heavy and tends to come
off all at once. In the snow retention
industry, that’s called a “catastrophic release”.
this: On average there is 1.125 gallons
of water in a cubic foot of snow. A gallon of water weighs 8.35 lbs. So 12” of snow weighs 9.39 lbs per square
foot. A typical solar panel array of 18
– 24” x 48” solar panels (144 sq. ft.) will have 1,352 lbs of snow in a 12”
snow blanket. Drier snow weighs less but
heavy spring snows may weigh twice as much.
That’s over a ton of snow!
If all of
that snow releases at once, property below can be damaged and people or pets may
get hurt, or worse.
should snow retention be considered?
1.When solar panels are installed on
roofs where falling snow would drop onto decks, walkways, driveways, hot tubs,
2.When falling snow may drop into
3.When falling snow may block doors or
4.When falling snow will drop onto a
conditions exist, it’s important to have the solar panels installed such that
there is at least 18” of roof exposed between the bottom solar panel and the
eave edge. This is where the snow fence
will be attached.
illustrates our snow retention system at work on a residence in Boulder,
CO. The snow fence is installed on the
portion of the roof above a driveway.
You can see how the system held the snow while the snow on the back
portion of the roof was allowed to slide off.
For more information,
please contact us at Info@rockymountainsnowguards.com or visit our website: www.rockymountainsnowguards.com.