The snow can significantly affect the performance of PV system by the snow. However, energy simulations indicated that the optimum tilt angle for PV arrays installed on vertical axis trackers in northern latitude is 60° or more. Snow does not stay on a glassy surface at that angle. This has been confirmed by monitoring tests in Kimberley under heavy snow conditions.

snowonPV

The figure above plots the occurrence of snow on PV modules at 56° tilt as measured in Kimberley (on more than 1 million records). Episodes of snow coverage will appear as high radiation level and negative temperatures (the zone in dark blue below the x-axis). In total, there were less than 0.2% of these occurrences, which supports the conclusion that snow is not an issue for a PV system with high tilt.

Using frameless (double glass) modules instead of standard modules with aluminum frame may address the problem, if any,  as they have no edge preventing the snow from sliding away.  However, The steep tilt angle makes it unlikely that snow is a significant issue in solar farms installed in the north.

See also snowman and SunMine


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Other performance factors

  1. GHI to POA ratio
  2. Far shading
  3. Inter-shading
  4. IAM
  5. Soiling
  6. Snow
  7. Low irradiance
  8. Temperature
  9. Module quality
  10. Mismatch
  11. Inverter efficiency
  12. Power clipping
  13. Wiring
  14. Transformer
  15. Dispatch
  16. PID
  17. Light soaking
  18. Aging