SPLTRAK Abstract Submission
Designated cold-climate field laboratory for photovoltaic system and component studies: the Michigan Regional Test Center as a case study
Laurie Burnham1, Jennifer L. Braid1, Daniel Riley1, Bruce H. King1, William Snyder1, Ana Dyreson2, Paul W. Dice2, Christopher Pike3
1Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, United States
/2Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, United States
/3University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States

Abstract—Snow and ice accumulation on photovoltaic (PV) panels is a recognized—but poorly quantified—contributor to PV performance, not only in geographic areas that see persistent snow in winter but also at lower latitudes, where frozen precipitation and “snowmageddon” events can wreak havoc with the solar infrastructure. Moreover, research on the impact of snow and cold on PV systems has not kept pace with the proliferation of new technologies, the rapid deployment of PV in northern latitudes, and the complexities of modeling cold-weather PV performance. This paper describes the value of a dedicated outdoor research facility for longitudinal performance and reliability studies of PV technologies in cold climates and for generating data essential to improviing the accuracy of PV performance models and reducing the unertainty in levelized cost of energy calculations.