Snow accumulation atop solar panels causes energy losses of between 5% and 15% every Winter in northern climates around the world, with some heavy snowfall even leading to mechanical loads that damage PV modules.
Keeping solar panels snow-free has been a costly and inefficient proposition—until now.
Materials and engineering scientists at the University of Toledo have developed an ingenious solution that is winning awards and satisfying the demand of 150 solar plant operators in their latest pilot tests.
The product is a novel strip that is applied to only the lower edge of the panel, which causes the melting of the snow without interfering with the absorption of sunlight.
In a video demonstrating Snow-Free Solar, the Ohio innovators say the easy-to-apply strip “does not cause any partial shading or hot spots on the panel and does not invalidate module warranty.” It can, in fact, improve the life expectancy of the panels.
The flexible strip doesn’t require any energy to operate and the coatings are “extremely durable, strongly adhering to the PV.”
“There is no need for power—it is passive,” says Hossein Sojoudi, the Associate Professor and Technical Advisor who founded Snow-Free Solar. “You apply it to the lower bottom and it works from there.”
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