Solar Panel Coatings Potential Winter Game Changer

ACEP Solar Technology Program’s Erin Whitney and Chris Pike are currently applying snow-shedding test coatings to solar photovoltaic panels in Willow and Fairbanks as part of a project with Sandia National Laboratories and other partners.

The coatings, developed at the University of Michigan, are being tested at a test site at Michigan Technological University in northern Michigan as well as at the Renewable Independent Power Producers and Golden Valley Electric Association arrays in Alaska.

With the precipitous drop in solar panel costs in the last decade, there has been a surge in interest in solar energy technology in northern latitudes, but snow cover in the winter and early spring is one obstacle to realizing their full benefit. ACEP will remotely monitor how effectively the coatings shed snow at the Alaska sites throughout the course of the winter.

For more information on this project, please contact Erin Whitney at


Chris Pike applies snow-shedding coatings to solar panels from the RIPP array in Willow. Photo by Erin Whitney.