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Photovoltaics in Cold Climates

Michael Ross, editor
CANMET Energy Diversification Research Laboratory

Jimmy Royer, editor
Solener Inc.

[The front cover of Photovoltaics in Cold Climates.] [An IEA image for Photovoltaics in Cold Climates.]

"The book Photovoltaics in Cold Climates deals with the issues
in an appealing way with plenty of illustrations and guidance...
A very current reference list and a thorough guide
to PV in cold climates make the 151 page book worth the price."

-Photon, The International Photovoltaic Magazine, April-May 1999

Link to CETC-Varennes
Link to IEA PVPS Programme
Link to James and James (Publisher) Catalog Entry
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Note on Authorship:

This book was co-edited by Michael M.D. Ross, formerly of the CANMET Energy Diversification Research Laboratory (currently known as CETC-Varennes) and now the principal of RER Renewable Energy Research, and Jimmy Royer, of Solener Inc. The chapters were contributed by various authors from around the world as part of their countries' contribution to the IEA PVPS. Michael Ross wrote the introductory chapter and co-authored, with Sylvain Martel of CETC-Varennes, the chapter "The Economics of Photovoltaics in Cold Climates".


This book was prepared by the CETC-Varennes as part of its contribution to Task III of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS).


Ross, Michael and Jimmy Royer, eds. Photovoltaics in Cold Climates. London, UK: James and James Science Publishers, Ltd., 1999.

Publisher's Description:

Providing electric power to remote, cold regions at high latitude or altitude can be an expensive and technically challenging task.

Photovoltaics (PV) provide a reliable and cost-effective solution yet their potential is underdeveloped, in part because of a lack of knowledge about their effectiveness in cold climates. This book illustrates the potential and the techniques for using PV in cold climates.

The book starts with a general section illustrating how PV can be applied in cold climates, with a succinct overview of the main considerations and chapters covering both the solar resource and the economics. It then covers the effects of cold climates on PV systems looking at the issues around the array and electronics, the battery and energy management. The third section covers design considerations and possible configurations (stand alone/battery systems, hybrid systems, seasonal storage and system simulation). The next part covers installation and operation and the book concludes with several case studies.

The book will be invaluable both for all managers charged with providing power to cold climates whether for dwellings, other buildings or technical installations and for all technicians, engineers, installers and researchers working on such installations. It will also be of great interest to those working with PV in any form, or interested to see PV technology reach its full potential.

Review in Photon, The International Photovoltaic Magazine (Germany), April-May 1999:

The use of photovoltaics in cold climates isn't just wishful thinking. Thousands of stand-alone systems have already been installed in those areas of the world that experience snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures. But it could be more, for PV in sparsely populated regions is often the cheapest energy supply. And it's the most comfortable solution, because it needs little maintenance, at least if adapted to the specific circumstances of cold regions at high altitude or northern latitudes.

The book Photovoltaics in Cold Climates deals with this issue in an appealing way with plenty of illustrations and guidance. As a product of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) PV Power Systems Program and the Canadian "PV for the North" Program, the editor notes it is written primarily for decision makers on how to provide and install PV power for dwellings, without forgetting technicians, installers and engineers. Nevertheless, only the first of the five sections is directly addressed to the non-technical decision maker, while the understanding of the rest needs at least some electrical engineering basics.

Although each chapter is written by a different author, the book's structure is stringent. The first section shows the possibilities of PV in cold climates and covers the economics. The second section deals with the specific effects of cold climates on system components and gives useful information on handling of batteries as the weak link in the system. Design of PV-hybrid systems, installation and operational matters are included in twelve case studies with colored photos. A very current reference list and a thorough guide to PV in cold climates make the 151 page book worth the price of 25 Pounds.


2A brief introduction to photovoltaic technology12
3The solar resource in cold climates20
4The economics of photovoltaics in cold climates30
IIThe effects of cold climates on photovoltaic systems
5The array, structure, and electronics39
6Battery issues46
7Energy management issues59
IIIDesigning photovoltaic systems for cold climate regions
8Stand-alone PV-only systems67
9PV-hybrid systems72
10Seasonal storage for photovoltaic systems79
11System modelling and simulation84
IVInstallation and Operation
13Operation and maintenance100
14System monitoring105
VCase studies