The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 234 [Completed (IDEA)]

Field Test & Evaluation of A Solar Snow Fence

  Project Data
Funds: $99,430
Staff Responsibility: Inam Jawed
Research Agency: Longboard Power, LLC.
Principal Investigator: Tibor Hegedus
Completion Date: 5/31/2023
Fiscal Year: 2021

Blowing and drifting snow onto roadways poses a safety concern to motorists, with state highway agencies bearing the responsibility to keep roadways clear and passable.  When compared to the more costly option of plowing and mechanically removing snow, state highway agencies use snow fences as a cost-effective alternative to control blowing and drifting snow.  With an estimated installed price of $25 - $60 per linear foot, and annual operating expenses of $0.20 - $1.20 per linear foot, snow fencing provides only seasonal-use.  By fully integrating photovoltaics into the design, snow fences can continue to perform their originally intended purpose while simultaneously providing the benefit of harnessing power from the sun.  Transforming snow fences into dual-use structures creates year-round value and revenue-generating potential for state highway agencies. The goal of this project was to construct, test, and evaluate the functionality, effectiveness, and reliability of a prototype solar snow fence in real-world conditions.  This included validating the solar snow fence’s dual-use functionality to generate electricity year-round in addition to protecting roadways from blowing and drifting snow.  During a 12-month test and evaluation period, real-world data confirmed the dual-use functionality of the solar snow fence to generate power and store blowing snow.  The solar snow fence can provide state highway agencies with another tool to manage winter road maintenance efforts, expand energy management strategies, and achieve sustainability goals.


The Final Report is available.


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