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Energy and Environment

The influence of snow and ice coverage on the energy generation from photovoltaic solar cells

Andenæs, E. , Jelle, B.P. , Ramlo, K. , Kolås, T. , Selj, J. , Foss, S.E.
Solar energy, Vol. 159 (1 January 2018), 318-328. Available online 10 November 2017.
Publ. year
2017
Publ. type
article
Abstract
This literature study examines previous studies of the optical properties of snow, and attempts to tie them together with studies on the effects of shading on photovoltaic solar panels. The study presents some information on the general properties of snow and ice, including geographic extent and some conditions of snow and ice formation. General optical properties of snow are examined, such as reflectance (albedo) and spectral transmittance. Common transmittance profiles for snow covers are also examined. The study also presents some commonly understood effects of shading on photovoltaic panels, both in the form of uniform shading (weak light) and partial shading. Other snow-related aspects of operating a photovoltaic system are also brought up, such as snow loads and the risks posed by snowmelt, particularly in regards to building-integrated or building-applied photovoltaics. Common methods of addressing snow-related challenges are summarized, both on a material and on an architectural level. Lastly, suggested future research paths are presented.
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