Minnesota Couple Develops an Idea for Keeping Solar Panels Free of Snow

Solar panels work well when there’s cold outside, but the efficiency naturally drops if they are covered by snow, even partially. The fact that the panels are tiled helps a bit, but eventually doesn’t always prevent snow buildup. Thus, the solar panel owners have to remove the snow by themselves, which is time-consuming. And that is what Karl Wagner and Danielle Rhodes intend to deal with.

Wagner, a data scientist and an inventor, suggests using a heating material with nanotechnology components in solar panels. This could remove snow from solar arrays within a few hours and prevent its further buildup.

With their “Solar For Snow” proposal, the Minnesota couple became a semi-finalist of the American-Made Solar Prize and received $50,000. Now, the project needs to be piloted, and the Solar For Snow team needs to study all the potential negative effects of their idea.

The target market for the nano add-on to the panels also remains questionable, since snow buildup doesn’t seem to be a problem for regions with moderate winters. However, the federal government still intends to study snow on arrays, as the solution could be a game-changer for regions with more severe winters, including the remote areas of Alaska.

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