Weather Monitoring Aids in Expansion of Solar Power

As solar expands, there is a need for grids to be able to adapt to their environment. Weather monitoring systems are giving grids the data necessary for this adaptation to happen, which can greatly increase the efficiency of this power source.

HILLSBORO, OR., June 26, 2017 — Weather has always been a challenge for solar. The growth of the industry is pushing it into territories where shifting weather conditions impact their effectiveness. Advanced weather monitoring is critical. It allows solar systems to adapt to their environment. Columbia Weather Systems, a professional weather monitoring system manufacturer located in Hillsboro, Oregon, offers weather stations key to facing Mother Nature and maintaining power optimization for solar facilities.


As solar expands, each new location brings along a unique set of environmental challenges. Columbia Weather Systems has worked has worked with major players such as Swinerton Renewable, WTEC Renewable Energy, and Solar Turbines Europe S.A. in the construction of solar plants across North America and Europe to develop location specific equipment to ensure power optimization.

Clouds are an old enemy of solar, but elements like wind speed and direction, temperature, and precipitation all threaten the efficiency of solar panels. To counter this, different sensors are used depending on the conditions. Columbia Weather's Orion™ system uses ultrasonic sensors, which is excellent in areas where wind speed and direction shifts regularly. While their Capricorn™ unit's mechanical sensors are better suited for more consistent environments.

Choosing the right sensor is especially important in fickle environments such as Ontario, Canada.

In Canada, dew and ice buildup on panels is common. Here, weather monitoring systems are programmed to detect this buildup, then automatically turn on and off heat sensors within the panels to remove the ice and dew.

The success of these grids relies on their ability to squeeze out as much power as possible while minimizing the impact of undesirable conditions. In the long run, minute changes can add up to large gains or losses of power.

Having highly sensitive and customizable weather systems that are specifically tailored towards each location is giving solar the opportunity to expand into new environments.

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