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AlsoEnergy and NREL Announce Initial Results of Study Tracking Photovoltaic System Performance

BOULDER, Colo. July 12, 2011

Initial findings from the study indicate that rooftop solar systems, even when placed at a pitch, may suffer wintertime performance issues in states that receive significant snowfall.

Boulder, Colo. November 2010 March 2011

Bill Marion

For example, Marion said, surveillance cameras allowed researchers to see that pitched solar systems installed on rooftops still lost performance after heavy snowfalls because even though the snow was sliding off the panels, it was piling up on the rooftop and creating a dam that prevented the snow melting off of the solar system. Panels installed on the ground did not have that same issue. Panels installed on flat roofs completely lost their performance when covered with snow.

"This study will probably lead to guidelines on how to mount modules to maximize the amount of snow fall off," Marion said.

Marion expects that after next winter, NREL should have a clear picture of how to mitigate the impact of snow and ice on a solar system.

Robert Schaefer

July 12-14 San Francisco

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