Solar farms are a no-brainer in warm and sunny places, but what about in northern climes where snow can cover and even shut down the panels?
Michigan Technological University’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC) is now part of a 2-year study that will help answer that question. The aims are to gauge how snow affects solar panels’ power generation and determine the best ways to overcome any losses.
The international engineering firm DNV GL, which specializes in large energy projects, has built an array of solar photovoltaic panels behind KRC, each set at a different angle, from 0 degrees (flat) to 45 degrees. “If you tilt them at 60 degrees, almost no snow sticks to the panels, but you also lose a lot of sunlight when they are not facing the sky,” said Tim Townsend, a principal engineer for solar services with DNV GL. KRC plans to apply the lessons learned from the test solar panels in its own back yard. “Michigan Tech will be going full bore on stopping snow losses,” said KRC Director Jay Meldrum.
Read more from Science Daily