Iqaluit Arctic College Solar Array
Photo credit: Nick Murray/CBC
The very first solar array in Nunavut was installed in 1995 on the Nunavut Arctic College campus in Iqaluit. The installation is a 3.2 kWp grid-connected photovoltaic system, comprised of 60 photovoltaic modules arranged in five parallel groups of 12 modules in series. Three of the groups included Siemens brand modules and the remaining two groups included Solec brand modules. The aim of the project was to gain experience in the construction and maintenance of photovoltaic modules and to demonstrate use of solar power in the far north. The total size of the photovoltaic modules is 25.62 m2, which is approximately the area of three mid-size vehicles. The modules face 30 degrees West of South and feed into the building to displace the use of diesel fuel. The panels were constructed to be vertical on the building façade, while this decreased the efficiency of the solar panels, it did not allow for snow to build up on the panels.
Graph credit: PERFORMANCE MONITORING OF THE NUNAVUT ARCTIC COLLEGE PV SYSTEM: NINE YEARS OF RELIABLE ELECTRICITY GENERATION by Y. Poissant , D. Thevenard, and D. Turcotte
Data from the solar array is monitored every 90 seconds since April 1996. The diagram to the right shows the monthly electricity production (in Wh) between January 2000 and December 2003. The chart clearly illustrates the seasonal patterns with as little as 13.2 kWh being produced in December (approximately enough power for one house for one day) to as much as 471 kWh being produced in April (approximately enough power to power one house for an entire month). On an annual basis, the electricity output is fairly consistent at 2,600 +/- 200 kWh. The maximum output from the solar array is when the sun is shining but the air temperatures are still low, this is typically in the months of February, March and April. Lower efficiencies are seen in warmer air temperatures from June to November. As an entire system, the building has been continuously operating since July 1995 without any major power interruptions. The system efficiency operates at 70% of the rated capacity for the photovoltaic arrays, likely due to the unfavourable climatic conditions of Northern Canada.
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