Snow shedding off solar panels

High latitude and cold climate solar PV

Snow and ice accumulation on the front surface of photovoltaic (PV) panels is a recognized, but poorly understood, contributor to lifetime PV performance and reliability.

A man brushing a compound on solar panels to assist in snow shedding

Our project aims to better characterize the performance of solar PV arrays in high latitude and cold climates. It is intended to increase the performance and resilience of PV systems deployed in regions of the United States that regularly experience below-freezing precipitation, thus aiding in the adoption, integration and optimal operation of the nation’s solar resources.

This ongoing research is a collaboration between Sandia National Laboratories, University of Michigan and Michigan Technical University. Past activities have included the development and testing of coatings to enhance the snow shedding properties of PV modules in collaboration with industry partners Renewable IPP (Independent Power Producers) and Golden Valley Electrical Association.

Currently, this project is developing a model to describe the change of snow albedo over time, which will improve PV performance models in snowy regions.

A man in a laboratory

This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office under award numbers #34363 and #38527.

Dhyani, A., Pike, C., Braid, J. L., Whitney, E., Burnham, L., & Tuteja, A. (2022). Facilitating Large‐Scale Snow Shedding from In‐Field Solar Arrays using Icephobic Surfaces with Low‐Interfacial Toughness. Advanced Materials Technologies, 7(5), 2101032.