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RegGuheert
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Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Mon Dec 09, 2013 9:50 am

Just a note for those new to PV and snow. If you have a driveway below the edge of a PV-covered roof, be sure to never park a car there when there is snow coming or already on the PV panels. It can slide off and damage your car. (You can see pictures of the PV panels on our garage in the links in my signature.)

Sorry, I don't have any disaster pictures from our system (yet!), but apparently this can be a costly mistake. I was reminded of this today when I went outside to see that the 6.5" of snow + sleet + freezing rain we got yesterday is still up there and ready to let loose as soon as it warms up enough.
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

QueenBee
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Leaf Number: 2062
Location: Bellevue (Seattle), WA

Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:51 am

Nice warning. Fortunately my garage roof gable end faces the driveway, which was nice since then the garage roof is north/south :) I have a similarly full roof as you and think it's probably worth the effort of clearing the snow as it accumulates as I could see it all sliding off at once and taking out the gutters. The last time it snowed it slide off the panels hitting the roof/gutter and then stopped sliding but it wasn't very much snow.

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RegGuheert
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:07 am

QueenBee wrote:I have a similarly full roof as you and think it's probably worth the effort of clearing the snow as it accumulates as I could see it all sliding off at once and taking out the gutters. The last time it snowed it slide off the panels hitting the roof/gutter and then stopped sliding but it wasn't very much snow.
I think there is essentially no chance of ice taking out the gutters on our garage since the top surface of the panels is about 6" directly above the gutters.

The gutters on the house may be another matter altogether. Sometimes the snow sheds off the panels and goes all the way to the ground and other times it creeps off onto the roof as yours did. But I suspect there is an in-between mode which includes gutter removal. This is our fourth winter with the array up there and we haven't lost it yet!

I did buy a roof rake a couple of winters ago when we had three feet of snow and my house looked like a small version of the winter palace in Dr. Zhivago. But that is quite a bit of work and I only get it out if there does not appear to be warm weather coming. Somehow, the snow has managed to stay put so far, in spite of rather comfortable temperatures today. I hope it doesn't hold on until this evening.

I now consider the sliding snow to be my annual PV cleaning regime, since I imagine it does a decent job of scrubbing the surface dirt off of the panels. Come to think of it, since this is the first decent snow this winter, perhaps that dirt is what is holding the snow on the panels today!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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mwalsh
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:20 am

Not from PV, but you get the idea:



2011 Blue Ocean SL with 76,000 miles.
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RegGuheert
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:19 am

RegGuheert wrote:I did buy a roof rake a couple of winters ago when we had three feet of snow and my house looked like a small version of the winter palace in Dr. Zhivago. But that is quite a bit of work and I only get it out if there does not appear to be warm weather coming. Somehow, the snow has managed to stay put so far, in spite of rather comfortable temperatures today. I hope it doesn't hold on until this evening.
Unfortunately, the snow DID manage to hold on until Sunday night and then another four inches got added on Tuesday. As a result, we had about three inches of snow from Sunday (after melting and compression) topped by about 1/4 inch of sleet and freezing rain which was then covered by four inches of wet snow on Tuesday. While this amount of snow is no threat to the integrity of the roof, it certainly eliminates any chance of producing electricity from the roof for the next few days with the cold setting in.

Here are some pictures:
PVRoofRakeGarage20131211.JPG

You can see the result of my roof raking of the garage PV panels. Those are clear now after the melting yesterday afternoon. You can see what the roof rake looks like sitting on the driveway and you can also spot the wovel sitting behind the Honda Civic Hybrid.

PVRoofRakeHouse20131211.JPG

It is much more difficult to rake the panels on the house due to their higher location on the roof and the fake gable there. Only three panels are fully exposed after melting and the rest will likely remain covered for the next few days.

SnowView20131211.JPG

This picture gives the view in the opposite direction so that you can see what the snow looked like yesterday. The driveway is a bit over 5000 square feet and I was able to clear four inches of wet snow in about 1.5 hours using the wovel! Love that thing!
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RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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mwalsh
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:29 am

What is all that white stuff?
2011 Blue Ocean SL with 76,000 miles.
2015 pack under warranty 12/30/15.
Tinted windows.
Bridgestone Ecopia 422+ tires.
L1 EVSE upgrade.
FIAMM horns.
Superbright LED lighting.
2013 sun visors.
LED shifter.
Heated seats.
GT-R map lamp lenses.
AV L2 EVSE.

eclecticflower
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:44 pm

RegGuheert wrote:...and you can also spot the wovel sitting behind the Honda Civic Hybrid...

...I was able to clear four inches of wet snow in about 1.5 hours using the wovel! Love that thing!


OK, what the heck is a wovel? Never heard of it; made me google it.
Great idea! I sure could've used one of those last season.
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RegGuheert
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:03 pm

eclecticflower wrote:
RegGuheert wrote:...and you can also spot the wovel sitting behind the Honda Civic Hybrid...

...I was able to clear four inches of wet snow in about 1.5 hours using the wovel! Love that thing!


OK, what the heck is a wovel? Never heard of it; made me google it.
Great idea! I sure could've used one of those last season.
Yeah, that thing is amazing! I moved ~1650 cubic feet of wet snow and I didn't even get a backache! Coming from someone with a weak back, that is high praise indeed!
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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RegGuheert
Posts: 6294
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:12 am
Delivery Date: 16 Mar 2012
Leaf Number: 5926
Location: Northern VA

Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:04 pm

mwalsh wrote:What is all that white stuff?
I'm not sure, but it was all over the black stuff, so I HAD to move it! :D
RegGuheert
2011 Leaf SL Demo vehicle
10K mi. on 041413; 20K mi. (55.7Ah) on 080714; 30K mi. (52.0Ah) on 123015; 40K mi. (49.8Ah) on 020817; 50K mi. (47.2Ah) on 120717; 60K mi. (43.66Ah) on 091918.
Enphase Inverter Measured MTBF: M190, M215, M250, S280

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dgpcolorado
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Re: PSA: Don't park your car below snow-covered PV!

Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:53 pm

My garage roof also sheds in front of the garage door. I usually have to shovel the snow pile to get the cars out (although in recent days it has been so cold the snow didn't slide off the roof until today). If I had it to do over again I'd design the roof structure differently.

Had my first zero solar day in more than a year on December 4th — it snowed from dawn to dusk, which is unusual here in sunny Colorado. But yesterday was the best production day since October 23rd, despite the short days and low angle of the sun: cold + cloudless day = great solar!

Image
My solar panels on October 4th before pulling the snow off.
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