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Alpine’s Guide for Solar Arrays & Snow Management on Shingle Roofs


Alpine’s Guide for Solar Arrays & Snow Management on Shingle Roofs

Alpine SnowGuards innovated the market’s first and only solar snow management system. With almost a decade of research and development, we’ve developed a three-part system that has been rigorously performance tested at our in-house research facility. Alpine’s Guide for Solar Arrays & Snow Management on Shingle Roofs explains how snow and ice interact on solar panels attached to shingle roofs. Let our expertise advise you on best practices and solutions to your immediate needs.

Shingle Roof Pitch, Sliding Snow, and Snow Loads

  • Shingle roof pitches vary from 2/12 – 16/12
  • Most shingle roofs have granules that create friction which helps keep snow and ice from sliding off the roof surface
  • A shingle roof with a 7/12 pitch or less is far less likely to have snow sliding issues than roofs with a pitch of 8/12 or greater

For more information about roof pitch, sliding snow, and snow loads, refer to American Society of Civil Engineers Guide to the Snow Load Provisions of ASCE 7-16.

How Solar Panels Affect Shingle Roofs

Granules add friction to the surface of shingled roofs. That surface becomes frictionless when glass solar panels are attached to the roof. This means solar arrays in snowy regions with a pitch of 2/12 or greater will likely shed snow and ice in a sudden avalanche-like event.

Avalanche Events on Solar Panels

Avalanching snow and ice off solar panels can cause property damage and injury to people and pets. Some examples of property damage include: plumbing vent pipes, gutters, lower roof areas, skylights, shrubs, cars, decks, and hot tubs, to name a few.

Areas in Need of Added Protection

At a minimum, points of egress, walkways, driveways, and gathering areas such as decks should be addressed with every new installation. Areas where gutters might get damaged, shrubs flattened, or roof vents broken should be considered by the project owner as worth taking a risk. These areas are often reconsidered after an array has been installed for a year or two and the owner has a better idea of locations that may justify added protection.

Alpine’s Recommended Solar Snow Management System

Alpine’s solar snow management system works to slow the sudden release of snow and ice from solar panels. Alpine strongly recommends installing a roof mount, pipe-style system for solar arrays with a 24′ minimum landing area of shingles below the array. If a 24″ landing zone is unavailable between the butt of the array and the roof’s eave, Alpine’s solar panel-mounted components should be installed to add friction points across the panels’ surface.

Solar Snow Guards for New and Existing Asphalt Shingle Roofs with Solar Panels

Click our solar snow management system’s product below to access BIM Revit files, cut sheets, assembly sheets, installation instructions, specification sheets, and more.

  • SSG-313 – Roof-mounted snow retention. A minimum 24″ landing zone is required between the butt of the array and the roof’s eave to install.
  • Solar Snow Dog – Pad-style snow retention. Attaches directly to the panels, adding friction, breaking up snow and ice and preventing the sudden release of a large snow mass.
  • Solar SnowMax Universal – Fence-style snow retention. Attaches directly to the bottom of the solar array, adding an additional barrier and preventing the release of a large snow mass.

@AlpineSnowGrds #AlpineSnowGuards #SnowGuards #SnowManagement

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