Let It Snow! Solar Panels Can Take It

Snow and solar cells aren’t mutually exclusive, according to a Michigan Technological University scientist. Photovoltaic panels can be well worth the investment even if you live in a winter wonderland.
True, a layer of snow can cause a solar-cell blackout for awhile. But not many locales enjoy heavy snow for more than a few months. And even in the bleak midwinter, panels don’t usually stay snow-covered for long.
“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce. He’s referring to the albedo effect, when sunlight reflects off snow. It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.
“In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,” Pearce said. However, the group has developed a model that can be used to design the most efficient photovoltaic systems, no matter how much snow is in the area.

reference: Released: 10/24/2012 5:00 PM EDT Source: Michigan Technological University Newswise
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