Paper Conference

Proceedings of eSim 2016: 9th Conference of IBPSA-Canada


An improved numerical method for predicting snow melting on photovoltaic panels

Ali Rahmatmand, Stephen J. Harrison, Patrick Oosthuizen

Abstract: Large scale photovoltaic power generating systems are being increasingly used in Canada. Unfortunately in Canada in winter snow accumulation on the PV panels can lead to very significant decreases in the power generated by such systems. One approach is to heat the panels causing melting of the snow or sliding of the snow layer off the panel. An improved numerical model of the melting of a snow layer on a heated panel has therefore been developed. The model relies on the use of improved definitions of the boundary conditions and improved models of heat and mass transfer in the snow and slush layers. Results have been obtained using this model for various depths and densities of snow cover and compared with available experimental data and with results given by an earlier numerical method. This comparison shows that the current model more accurately predicts melt time and water run-off rates than the previous model. This is especially true when the surface heat flux rates are low which is important for PV panels.
Pages: 95 - 105