Numerical and experimental study of an improved method for prediction of snow melting and snow sliding from photovoltaic panels
Harrison, Stephen J.
Oosthuizen, Patrick H.
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Snow accumulation on photovoltaic panels can significantly decrease the output power generated by the PV systems. One approach to this problem is to heat the panels. Although several numerical models have been proposed to simulate snow melting on horizontal surfaces, there is no model for snow sliding or snow melting on tilted surfaces. Therefore, an improved numerical model has been developed to predict snow sliding or snow melting on horizontal and tilted PV panels. By modeling the snow as a porous media, the governing equation for a porous environment, Darcy's law, was used to predict the rate of meltwater drainage from the snow cover on a tilted panel. In addition, a set of experiments have been performed in a controlled situation to study the physics of snow sliding from a PV panel and to validate the model. An empirical equation was proposed to predict the required time for snow sliding (RTS) from inclined panels with a good agreement with the experimental results.