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Title: Integration, Validation, and Application of a PV Snow Coverage Model in SAM

Due to the increasing deployment of PV systems in snowy climates, there is significant interest in a method capable of estimating PV losses resulting from snow coverage that has been verified for a wide variety of system designs and locations. A scattering of independent snow coverage models have been developed over the last 15 years; however, there has been very little effort spent on verifying these models beyond the system design and location on which they were based. Moreover, none of the major PV modeling software products have incorporated any of these models into their workflow. In response to this deficiency, we have integrated the methodology of the snow model developed in the paper by Marion et al. [1] into the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) System Advisor Model (SAM). In this work we describe how the snow model is implemented in SAM and discuss our demonstration of the model's effectiveness at reducing error in annual estimations for two PV arrays. Following this, we use this new functionality in conjunction with a long term historical dataset to estimate average snow losses across the United States for a typical PV system design. The open availability of the snow loss estimation capabilitymore » in SAM to the PV modeling community, coupled with our results of the nation-wide study, will better equip the industry to accurately estimate PV energy production in areas affected by snowfall.« less
 [1] ;  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; snow; losses; System Advisor Model; SAM; PV; modeling