I think this is one pretty easy, reasonable and affordable method. What can be possibly derived from this method, Kelly (since you are doing water collection), is maybe a combination of solar heated barrels and drainage/collection of melted snow that will flow into the main cistern.
Also, there is a number of existing systems that are used in the cities in order to melt snow on the roads. They are based on embedding heating cables into the pavement or concrete slabs that eventually get heated and thus melt the snow. Such systems can also be powered by solar power and then a water collection system can be applied.