Solar cells at Villum Research Station, Station Nord

56 solar panels have been installed and are already providing all the electrical power that the station needs.

2017.08.09 | Henrik Skov

Solar cells at Villum Research Station, Station Nord. Photo: Poul Riis Jørgensen, Station Nord.

The last part of Villum Research Station, Station Nord (VRS) is now finished. 56 solar panels have been installed and are already providing all the electrical power that the station needs. The area of each solar cell panel is about 1 m2.

The panels are placed two meters above the ground to avoid that they are covered by snow, and thus the skeleton they are mounted upon had to be specially designed and enforced in order to withstand the rough Arctic weather conditions.

The production has been as high as 14.5 kW where maximum theoretical production is 15 kW, and it has covered all the electrical consumption we have had this summer. It is getting very interesting to follow how the production continues when the wintertime is approaching. The Polar night starts at 16 October and ends at 25 February with the Polar sunrise. Clearly, in that particular period we have to rely on the diesel generators operated by the Danish Defense. We are very curious to see the seasonal behavior of the electrical production - how long will it last before the solar flux gets too low for energy production? We hope that the reflection of sunlight by the snow will improve the production compared to the theoretical values.

The solar panels emphasize that VRS is a green station, where we do a large effort to have the smallest possible foot print on the surrounding environment. In fact, the energy produced by the solar panels is saved twice, as all diesel has to be flown in, which is very energy consuming, where after it is used to produce the electrical power. Furthermore, it is also economically very beneficial, as one kWh to be conventionally produced at VRS costs 5 DKK (without any taxes). In Denmark, one kWh cost 0.4 DKK without tax.

Public/media