The advent of modern solar energy technologies can improve the costs of energy consumption on a global, national, and regional level, ultimately spanning stakeholders from governmental entities, to utility companies, corporations, and residential homeowners. In each case the question of if and when the investor will recoup their initial investment is an important barrier to be considered. Current solar energy performance estimation models have several limitations, especially with respect to cold and snowy climates. While the models commonly include a discount to account for shade or soil, the factor is assumed to be constant and devoid of seasonal or monthly changes, such as snow fall. This paper provides validation for the need to modify current solar energy performance models to better estimate the influence of snow on solar panels. Furthermore, a new method is proposed in an attempt to allow model designers, and ultimately users, the opportunity to better understand the return on investment for solar energy systems located in snowy environments.