I am in the midst of researching information for a house my Dh and I plan to build in Northern Idaho in a few years. Because it is likely we will not have municipal utilities available and I would prefer to avoid fossil fuels as much as possible, I am on a solar research quest. I have read quite a bit of infomation and it was suggested to me to look here. Having lived in coastal Southern California my entire life, I understand the theory of how solar works and the more I read, the more I wonder why it is not used more extensively here. The area seems perfect for solar energy.
In Idaho however, there is snow and cloudy days and winter is long and cold and snowy and I do not understand how solar can work under such conditions. I have spent a few hours reading the archives as related to this concern and what I have discovered is that one arranges the panels so they can be bursh clear of snow.
That's it?!? Is that how it works??? To use solar in a place with lots of snow, one much be able to brush the accumulated snow from the panels???? If that is the case, then I presume that the panels are not mountedon the roof.
I have gathered information from the area in which we intend to move from various sources and it looks like it would cost approximately 15k to set up a system from the ground up when we build the house. That is certainly preferable to the 90K+ for bringing in electrical power to the acreage we are considering. I like the idea of not being dependent upon a grid system and I love the concept of conservation oand stewardship to the earth - I also like lights int he house as well.
What's the catch - how does solar work in the snow under non-sunny conditions? I don't get it. :?