Letter to the editor: Solar panels in winter a continuing conundrum

We have a modest array of solar panels on our sloped metal roof in Ripton, Vt. Since they were installed several years ago they have generated electrical power through much of the year without problems; however, during approximately 70+ days of the winter months, these panels are covered with snow and generated no electricity.
I am surprised that after all these years of solar panels being installed in northern climates, no one seems to have come up with a solution for this problem. I’ve been told to use a long pole with a brush on the end to push off the snow. Doesn’t really work and the company that installed the panels advises against it as it may damage or scratch the panels.
The surprising thing is that when the sun comes out, the last place the snow remains is on the panels … while the rest of the roof is clear! I would have thought there would be some way to run a sort of heated coil along the base of the panels utilizing some of the power generated by the panels themselves, but I have yet to find anything like that available on the market. I’ve asked help from librarians, universities and manufacturers of solar panels with no answers in sight.
Please help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You are my last hope.
Yours truly,
Burgess Needle

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