Snow Removal from Solar Arrays – What are You Gaining? 1
Matt K. working hard to remove snow off the panels

With over 10 years of experience, Donahue & Sons has been committed to giving our customers the best results for a quality price. Typically during the winter months, December to late March, vegetation management companies begin to store their equipment away and wait out the Winter until the crisp 50-degree air and sunshine blossom again in the early Spring. But not Donahue & Sons, two weeks ago the New England regions faced our second Nor’easter of the season capping off at 24 inches in some Massachusetts towns. The Donahue & Sons team geared up ready to face the following days plowing and removing snow amongst seventy sites.

What you need to know.

The first 1.25 days after a snowstorm are crucial to gain back lost revenue immediately after a snowstorm. During these days the panels are completely immersed under the snow and cannot absorb any further energy, affecting the ROI of each nameplate. If we take into consideration the cloud coverage of a storm the nameplate capacity should be producing at 65% and just over 9MWDC a day, based on 5.19 hours of sunlight in the month of December.

If the site has a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate of 2 or SREC 2 (meaning the solar panels were installed after 2014) it will earn $282.00 a megawatt averaging a projected total of $2,538.00 per day with a purchase power agreement estimate of $0.15 which should also generate in the ballpark of $1,350.00 per day. That being said we can estimate the total projected earning of the site running in partly cloudy conditions should generate around $3,888
per day.

Taking the above calculation into consideration you can estimate a return of investment within 1.25 days if cleared professionally. The total generation of solar panels with no snow would average to $27,216.00 with the subtraction of the cost to clear of $4,250.00 which would equal $22,966.00 of revenue after 7 days with the clearing cost already paid.

The second objective to take into consideration is what the ROI will look like if panels are left uncleared. During this equation, we must take into account the melting and refreezing of snow and ice as the temperature drops and rises each day. For this equation, we are using the same production number from paragraph 2. Over a 7 day period, the graph below shows the projected revenue and decrease of 35% already derated by clouds if panels were to be left uncleared.

Uncleared Panel Production Graph

From looking at this graph we can conclude that the overall projected revenue over the course of 7 days for uncleared panels would estimate to $11,080.

After calculating projected revenue for cleared panels, the cost of clearing, and projected revenue for uncleared panels Donahue & Sons customers should expect an estimated net gain of $11,886.00 from panels that are professionally cleared. Why allow another snowstorm to cost you thousands when a quick call to Donahue & Sons can increase your profits by 24-48 hours after a snowstorm.

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