“Severe” Antarctic weather tests for solar panels

Scientists say tests to put extra strong solar panels in the Antarctic have been successful. University of Wisconsin researchers simulated freezing weather conditions to put “double glass” solar PV panels […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Scientists say tests to put extra strong solar panels in the Antarctic have been successful.

University of Wisconsin researchers simulated freezing weather conditions to put “double glass” solar PV panels through their paces, including sub-zero temperatures for lengthy periods of time.

The panel makers Sunpreme claim this is a “stepping-stone” to possibly deploying them in Antarctica.

Matt Newcomb, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said: “Extreme environment requires a reliable solar panel.

“After multiple tests of dropping the panels to temperatures of -60 degrees C for extended periods of time, the panels, junction boxes and cabling were able to withstand applied mechanical impacts without cracking or failure.”

They are being considered for use at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole to cut the energy costs of running the detector.

The cost of shipping fuel for generators to the South Pole is becoming exorbitant, with power costs now reaching $1.61/kWh, according to Sunpreme.