Snow on Solar Panels Removed During Night to Increase Power Generation (2)

2019/05/13 03:59
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Labo
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Continued from Snow on Solar Panels Removed During Night to Increase Power Generation (1)

Services offered to regions selected according to snow quality

Golden Leaf-Works removes snow without touching solar panels (Fig. 3). Snow accumulated on panels is blown away. If it is difficult to blow away, starting points for sliding down are created by pushing up the snow from the bottom of panels, for example.

Fig. 3: Snow blown away from solar panels (top). Starting points created for snow to slide (bottom). (source: Golden Leaf-Works)

The effect is significant even at night and snow slides down immediately after the operation, according to the company.

In the services that are mainly intended for removal of snow from solar panels, removal of snow accumulated on the ground is positioned as a secondary service. Snow is removed from the ground only when the spaces for snow that slides down are getting scarce. In the operation, snow is blown away to the areas below the arrays in the front because snow accumulation in these areas does not cause any problem regarding safety or power generation.

The company has removed snow from solar panels in the Hokuriku region in addition to Hokkaido. As a result, the company can now grasp the feasibility of snow removal services based on the difference in snow quality depending on the region and the scale of solar power plants. The company will develop the service mainly targeting mega solar power plants connected to extra-high-voltage transmission lines in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region as the main targets.

The regions are limited to Hokkaido and Tohoku because of the snow removal operations. Snow removal from solar panels requires considerable effort unless the snow is powdery and contains a small amount of water. It was very difficult to remove snow at mega solar power plants in the Hokuriku region because the heavy snow contained a lot of water and easily stuck to panels.

Mega solar power plants connected to extra-high-voltage transmission lines are set as the main targets because of profitability. When service charges come from an increase in generated power that results from daily frequent operations, removal of a lot of snow in a short time directly affects the feasibility. For this reason, large-scale power plants are suitable for the services.