Mikey's solar panel snow sweeper
Mikeys snow sweeper
Time to go back to a more mechanical way to clear the snow.
After beating on some snow drifts with various things, I came up with a pretty simple to make,low cost and potentially useful way to get snow to slide off the panels.The same system could also clear roofs.
In all the test i have did to date trying to melt the snow,I found that all that is required to fully clear a panel is to give the snow a nudge, and then the snow just slides off with gravity's help.
A bar, pipe, dowel is supported above the panels.This needs to be rigidly attached so you can pull as hard as necessary to get the snow moving. A 3/4" diameter poly rope is attached loosely with a loop. The loop can be pulled left or right with a smaller diameter rope, which would pass through pulleys on the left and right ends. By pulling on the small ropes, you can slide the loop anywhere along the bar, and hold it there if the ropes are tied down.
To clear snow, you would pull on the big poly rope end on the ground, far enough from the building to put the rope parallel to the panels surface. Then you just pull and sweep the rope across the surface to clear the snow.
This means I would have to snow blow a path at the right distance from the house to get the angle right, but that is not as difficult or dangerous as getting on the roof.
The top can be moved left or right to sweep multiple times, all far from the house, away from falling snow.A small cleat to tie down the two small ropes would lock the top loop in position.
Would work best the morning after the storm, when the snow is fresh. Leave the ropes set up all winter, and put a top slide across all of the house peaks to allow clearing either side of the roof with the same bar and separate ropes. Sounds good on paper, the real test will come when it snows again.
The same rope can be used to support the end of a very long snow rake.Imagine a pulley that the rope runs through right above the rake. The rope is held in one hand, the snow rake handle in the other. Lift the rope to get the snow rake end over the snow, push the rake up to get another bite of snow, pull down the snow. I hope that the rake would only be required if the snow is too much for the rope alone. I also rigged up another poly rope tied to the base of my chimney over the panels and to the ground, so I can test clearing a limited sweep of the real panels to see how it works. Now all I need to try it out is another snow storm.