Representative image of Queen's Innovation Park test site

Back to: Effects of snow on photovoltaic performance

16 panel solar array[edit | edit source]

  • There are 8 panels each of Nexpower amorphous silicon framed 100W and 8 panels of Bosch unframed micro-morph silicon 100W panels positioned at angles from 0 to 70 degrees from the horizontal in 10 degree increments.
  • The panel at 0 degrees can pivot and allows for "dump" tests to determine the critical angle for snow shedding.
  • The short circuit current of the panels is measured by a datalogger to give real time power outputs correlated directly with meteorological and thermal measurements.

Meteorological sensors[edit | edit source]

  • Snow sensor- Ultrasonic Snow sensor measures current snow depth. This is the same sensor used by Environment Canada for their snow depth measurements
  • Ambient temperature- Radiation Shielded thermometer gives an accurate indication of the ambient temperature
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Incident solar radiation- Direct and diffuse solar radiation data will be used from a nearby solar laboratory

Thermal and panel power sensors[edit | edit source]

  • 32 channels of T-type thermocouples measure the temperature at the top and bottom of each panel
  • 16 channels of shunt wiring measures the voltage drop across a resistor in series with each PV short circuit loop. This gives an accurate measurement of short circuit current.

Visual observations[edit | edit source]

  • A outdoor rated digital camera will be mounted nearby and used to take photographs of the array at constant intervals.
  • This will allow for an analysis of the total snow cover, the snow melting patterns over time, as well as the collection of the snow shed beneath a panel.

Campbell scientific datalogger[edit | edit source]

Physical measurements[edit | edit source]

  • Measurements will also be taken by hand at larger intervals on the following parameters
  • Snow water equivalent- This is a measure of the relative density of the snow, and will be taken using snow cores.
  • Accumulated precipitation- Measured using a standard rain gauge, will give another measure of the total precipitation between measurements
  • Panel snow accumulation- Will measure the height of snow accumulation at the top and bottom of each panel.