Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winter Solar / 2012 Waiting for Winter

Some winters are better for skiing and others are better for solar.

Yesterday found me wearing shorts and working in the garden while our home's PV system pushed more than 800-watts back to the grid. The weather has been so mild and sunny that we even have a Lenten Rose budding in the garden.

White Grass Ski Touring Center in January of last year.

The lack of snow has been bedeviling to the friends and neighbors who look forward to the season each year. It has been hard on the folks who make a living from tourism and winter sports here in Tucker County. I've added some photos from the last couple of winters - good times.

Skiied into this off-grid home to set the solar tracking system upright so that I could brush snow off . This must have been in 2010 when snow started in December and didn't quit until sometime in March.

The back forty in 2010

The way back forty in 2011

Winter days are shorter for sure, but when you do have a beautiful cold sunny day you can see record peak power production from a solar PV system. Cold temps conspire with added reflectance from snow and these two factors can cause production numbers to be surprisingly good despite shorter days (these are also the days when sunblock is a must if you are out in the snow!).

If you're missing skiing you can take some comfort from the following YouTube segment. It's about 5 minutes long and has nothing to do with photovoltaics, but it is imaginative and may cause your jaw to hit the floor. Enjoy. Think Snow!