The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Does Snow Lower the Efficiency of Solar Panels?

Oct 30, 2012

We all know that shading and dirt can cause a lot of trouble for our solar panels. But what about snow? This is what a small research team at Michigan Technological University decided to study. They`re findings are surprising. 

A thick layer of snow on top of your solar panels is obviously no good. Thick enough, and it can even stop any sunlight from entering the photovoltaic cells. In most cases this is not a big issue. Solar panels do usually not stay covered in snow for long – even in Canada and Alaska.

 

The Albedo Effect

Have you noticed that your skin easier burns on a sunny snow-covered winter day? This is because of the albedo effect, or diffuse reflectivity – basically the reflecting power of a surface. White particles, such as snow, actually reflect the majority of the light they are exposed to.

The researches at Michigan Technological University found that the electrical output of solar panels actually increase a bit when there`s a little snow present. On top off the albedo effect, solar cells are typically more efficient when cooled. 

What does this mean? Should I cover my solar panels in snow? That would probably not be a good idea. The point of the study was to show that solar panels clearly are still efficient in snowy areas during the winter.

The researchers have collected data from several of Ontario's huge commercial solar farms. They are now in the process of finalizing a computer model that effectively can be used to predict efficiency of solar panels as a response to snowfall.

The bottom line is this: There is likely good reason to go solar even if you live in a place with snow during the winter!

http://energyinformative.org/

For more information, read the full paper at Academia.edu.

The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.

Mathias is currently doing a masters in energy and environmental engineering at NTNU in Norway. In his spare time he runs EnergyInformative.org, a site that focuses on informing and promoting the use of clean, renewable energy technologies and increased energy efficiency.Connect with Mathias on G...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

Intersolar Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 Intersolar Eu...

COMPANY BLOGS

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

Captivology

One of the biggest challenges we face as efficiency sales professionals ...

How To Optimize Your Meeting Schedule

Do you spend more time in meetings than you do actually working? While m...

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS