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Design Considerations for Photovoltaic Systems Deployed in Snowy Climates
L. Burnham, D. Riley, J. Braid
Performance, Design Optimization, Cold Climate
PV Systems and Storage – Modelling, Design, Operation and Performance
Subtopic: Design and Installation of PV Systems
Event: 37th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition
Session: 5CV.4.15
1626 - 1631
ISBN: 3-936338-73-6
Paper DOI: 10.4229/EUPVSEC20202020-5CV.4.15
0,00 EUR
Document(s): paper, poster


be taken into account when making technology and design choices. This work, although preliminary, suggests that significant efficiency gains are possible by designing a photovoltaic (PV) system specifically for regions of the world that see persistent snow in winter. Part of a broader effort to increase the performance and reliability of PV systems in snowy regions, the research described here has identified design choices that can accelerate snow shedding and boost electricity generation. A comparative performance analysis of three design options--module orientation, framing architecture and bifacial tracker mounting—is provided. Preliminary results indicate that smart design choices can, in fact, means greater energy efficiencies. Frameless modules shed snow faster than framed modules, translating into average annual energy gains of 10 percent; portrait modules, which have a high sliding-distance-to-frame ratio outperform their landscape counterparts; and bifacial modules on two-axis trackers generate 41% more energy than the same bifacial modules installed at fixed tilt. These results strongly suggest that customizing PV systems for a harsh operating climate is a cost-effective path to greater system efficiencies and a faster rate of return for investors.