LakeLeaf wrote:Lastly, the squirrels like to climb the 100 foot tall pines around the house and chew off the pine cones so that they drop onto the roof. I'd be a little worried that a pine cone would hit a panel and ruin it - I don't know how tough these panels are.
I don't know. If I had ever been hit by a pine cone dropped 100 feet I might well have a different opinion, but I suspect that is the least of your worries. We have a cluster of three very tall pine trees about 100 feet southwest of our house (not on our property), and they make our solar output plummet as the sun dips below their tops on winter afternoons. I can't imagine what they would do to the output if they were close enough for pine cones to hit the roof. [Given how straight pines grow, those squirrels must have really strong throwing arms.
] Oh, wait, you did say something about wind, didn't you?
Here is a half serious thought - we get no snow at all, but our solar panels produce an average of about 6 MWh/year in the five months from May 1 to Oct 1 and only about 5 MWh/year in the seven months from Oct 1 to May 1. Lake Tahoe is a couple of degrees further north than we are, so the difference is likely to be even a bit more pronounced for you. You might consider just letting the solar system hibernate all winter.