Edit Optimization of PV Systems for Northern Latitudes: Design Best Practices
Commensurate with the sharp drop in the cost of installed solar, utility-scale systems are rapidly proliferating in northern regions, where minimal irradiance and snow adhesion have traditionally inhibited solar deployment, This presentation will provide an overview of the challenges of PV installed in snowy regions, spanning such topics has energy losses attributable to snow, reliability concerns specific to extreme winter weather, and efforts to model the energy output of PV systems at northern latitudes. Specifically, the presentation will include the details of a three-year DOE-funded research project to 1) measure snow losses at multiple utility-scale installations across the northern US; 2) quantify energy gains/losses attributed to specific design parameters; and 3) assess the efficacy of mitigation strategies focused on accelerating snow shedding. The work presented reflects partnership with multiple stakeholders across the northern US, including asset owners, developers and investors. Their investment in this project, which includes significant in-kind support, speaks to the lack of data on PV performance in snowy climates and to the interest in innovative new strategies to mitigate so-called snow losses.