Based in Southern Louisiana, the ClearWorld staff are used to sudden weather changes this time of year. Many of the U.S. experiences a wide range of weather conditions in January, including unexpected snow. While it may seem that snow would hinder the power of solar photovoltaic panels (PV), it can actually help in many cases.
Tackling weather-related challenges is one reason why the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SunShot Initiative funds Regional Test Centers, where solar panel performance can be time-tested in widely varying climates. Researchers at the test centers have shown that solar can still successfully generate electricity in snowy areas and other harsh environments.
Light snow has little to no impact on PV panels, but the weight of excess snow can sometimes present a problem. ClearWorld’s vertical PV panels and InterGrid technology completely eliminate this problem, since snow cannot accumulate.
Research has shown that when light is still able to move through the snow, forward scattering brings more light to the solar cells than one might expect. In these cases, snow can actually help the panels generate more electricity. Another benefit of snow is that it can actually help clean a PV module as it melts away. Any dust or dirt on the glass will bond with the snow, washing it away when the sun melts it off. The anti-soiling properties of snow inherently make solar panels cleaner and able to reach higher efficiencies.
This winter, even if the snow piles high, we can remain confident that ClearWorld’s solar panels will generate power and that research conducted at the Regional Test Centers will help PV perform even better in the future. With our products and solutions, air pollution is reduced. Natural resources are preserved. Beyond these immediate, short-term results, the use of ClearWorld’s technology has a much broader range of long-term benefits.