The Trouble with Snow & its Impact on Solar Projects

Maximizing Performance While Facing Wintertime Headaches

Vaisala_logoOnline — Over the past few years, new energy policies have initiated explosive solar growth in non-traditional areas like the Northeast U.S. and Southeast Canada – places that tend to see extreme winter weather.

2015 was no exception with record-breaking low temperatures and heavy snowfall that refused to melt, creating headaches for operators across the region.

While panels cope quite easily with light snowfall, shedding it as they warm up, extreme weather and cold temperatures make this more challenging.

In order to avoid significant production losses, operators typically send in crews to deal with the problem manually, which can be costly. For example, a 2.5 GW system in Massachusetts could make $3,100 on a sunny day from its output, while paying $2,500 for snow removal ahead of time to make that production possible.

But what if rain is coming that would clear the panels naturally or worse, more snow, only to cover them again? In this case, project operators would rightly argue that the maintenance cost for snow removal is not money well spent.

So how can operators make the most cost-effective decisions and the best use of their budgets?

Today’s solar operators need to understand both how equipment is performing and what the weather is doing, particularly when operating sites remotely. Fortunately, there are many new ways to monitor both performance and weather.

Specialized equipment and forecast providers, like Vaisala, allow operators to make weather-adjusted decisions to isolate the specific issue, whether its equipment or weather induced, and understand the type of conditions coming their way.

Related Articles


Solar Power Asset Management & Performance
21-22 January 2016
Newport Beach, CA, USA
Speaker: Gwendalyn Bender

Infocast Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit
9-11 February 2016
San Diego, CA, USA

9-11 February 2016
Orlando, FL, USA

Mexico Windpower 2016
24-25 February 2016
Mexico City, Mexico

Follow Vaisala on Social Media and Their Blog:
Read Energy News and Insights

Recent Solar News and Articles


Importance of the Grid for Solar + Storage Systems

Brazil’s Solar Industry is Making a Big Bet

Vaisala Supports Pattern on First Solar PV Project