Performance and Future Potential of Solar Photovoltaics in Arctic Settlements
AuthorMathiesen, Vemund Nygaard
Data from a solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on Svalbard Airport Longyear has been analyzed to investigate performance of solar photovoltaics in the Arctic. Results show that the average capacity factor at the facility is 5.6 % after its first two full years of production. While the production in the winter is zero, monthly capacity factors are observed to be as high as 16 % in the summer. On peak days, capacity factors of more than 30 % are observed. Predictions show that the installation will save around 800 000 NOK during its 25-year lifetime, while also reducing emissions by 1064 tons CO2 equivalents. The data from Svalbard Airport Longyear was paired with energy consumption data from Longyearbyen, to design systems with different levels of reliance on solar energy. Simulations show that full solar reliance in the summer-season is feasible. It requires an installation of 86.3 MWp solar PV, and 2.76 GWh of storage with 60 % round-trip efficiency. Estimations show a potential return on investment of 7.71 % after 25 years, saving 163 Million NOK. The emission reduction from the system would be 20 365 tons CO2 equivalents. The fragile power grids of arctic settlements have few links in the system that can equalize load fluctuations. Introduction of intermittent solar PV on even a private scale is therefore advised against until energy storage capacity is developed. Compressed air energy storage is suggested as an option for settlements on Svalbard because the required infrastructure already exists. Because of the high heat demand in arctic settlements, efficiency of the fossil generators is higher than global average. Longyearbyen sees efficiencies of 50.1 % in the coal power plant, and Ny-Ålesund up to 76 % for its diesel generator. Paired with low solar utilization, the climate impact from installing PV in the Arctic is lower than in areas with low fossil efficiency and high solar utilization.
PublisherUiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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Copyright 2020 The Author(s)
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