For Maryland and Northern Virginia solar panel owners, sunshine is available in abundance year round. But what happens when the big freeze sets in? Do solar panels work in the snow?

The snowstorm that buried the East Coast this week has owners of solar panels in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. wondering how their systems will perform amidst snow and ice.

Will Solar Panels Still Generate Electricity with Snow on Them?

Solar panels operate under light snowfall, but heavier snow will decrease solar power production. There’s good news though: Due to the angle of your solar panels, snow will fall off your solar panels faster than it will fall off your roof

Will Solar Panels Generate Electricity When it’s Snowing?

Electricity will not be generated when snow falls. Fear not, though, because sunny days usually follow snowstorms. When the snow melts, you can start making power again.

Will Snow Damage My Solar Panels?

Snow is unlikely to harm your solar panels. If you’ve installed a durable, reliable brand, your solar panels can even resist hail damage. Improperly removing snow or ice from the panels could affect the way they work. Even so, natural light will likely melt snow build-up over the course of a couple of days. Refrain from scraping them with ice scrapers or shovels.

Do I Need to Remove Snow from My Panels?

It is not essential to remove snow, unless snowfall is consistent. Batteries and panels may become damaged if they are exposed to a mass of snow. Prevent problems by sweeping ground/pole-mounted panels with soft brushes.

What about Solar Panels and Ice?

Don’t attempt to remove ice from the solar panels yourself. Not only does this pose a safety risk, but it could disturb the micro-etching of the surface. Ice will obscure the panels, which prevents them from generating electricity. Try heating the home from the inside out to melt the ice. Or, better yet, be patient — sunny days are ahead.