Michigan Tech tests if solar power works up North

Nov 16, 2013

HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) - Researchers at Michigan Technological University are trying to figure out if solar power generation that works in the sunny South can function in the snowy North.

A two-year-study underway at the Houghton school's Keweenaw Research Center seeks to measure how snow affects solar panels' power generation.

The international engineering company DNV GL is helping underwrite the project. Michigan Tech spokeswoman Marcia Goodrich says the company specializes in "large energy and sustainability related projects."

The company has built an array of solar photovoltaic panels behind the research center set at different angles.

The panel settings range from horizontal to 45 degrees.

DNV GL engineer Tim Townsend says no snow sticks to a solar panel set at 60 degrees but says it also loses a lot of its ability to generate power.