Whitehorse Solar Study

This solar project will test and compare the performance of varying solar technologies in the Yukon's solar climate, with a focus on winter performance. This research will serve as proof of concept for the commercial use of grid-tied solar in the territory, establishing a blueprint that will hopefully encourage future growth of the industry throughout the Yukon.

Project Overview

Solvest, a local company specializing in solar technologies, will be installing a 5kW solar array in the Yukonstruct compound containing 20 modules, consisting of 4 different panel technologies:

1. Monocrystalline: These modules are made from single silicon crystal cells and are recognizable by their distinct diamond pattern. By using single crystalline cells these modules are high efficiency (ranging from 17 – 21.5%) due to the unbroken electrical contacts within each cell. However, this added performance comes at an additional cost as it is more energy intensive to produce single crystal wafers.

2. Polycrystalline: These cells are composed of multiple silicon wafers joined together to make a single solar cell. This process is cheaper than manufacturing monocrystalline cells due to a significant drop in the energy required. However, the resulting cells are less efficient typically ranging from 12-16% efficiency.

3. Bi-facial Monocrystalline: Bi-facial modules are a unique solar technology that allows cells to collect light on both sides. This means that unlike other module types the back sides of these panels are exposed, generating up to 35% more power per module when installed correctly However, this added performance comes at a significant cost of over 50 cents per watt more than mono-facial monocrystalline modules.

4. Thin film: This module is an entirely separate solar technology from other module types as they do not contain silicon crystals. Rather these modules are produced by layering thin “film” sub-straights onto an electrically conductive backing. Each layer of film is comprised of a different chemical compound which absorbs only a certain spectrum of light. The major advantage of this design is the elimination of silicon lowering the energy required to manufacture thin film modules to only a tiny fraction of what is required when working with silicon. This leads to much cheaper module costs, however, these modules are the least efficient on the market with typical efficiencies ranging from 9-13.5%.  

This will not only supplement Yukonstruct’s power supply, but will also allow Solvest and Cold Climate Innovation to develop an accurate data set comparing panel type performance in the Yukon's solar climate conditions. This data will enable future solar project developers in the territory to make informed panel selections, increasing the output of their installations. For more information and to view the performance of each solar panel click here.

  • Ben Power, Project Coordinator, Solvest Inc.
  • Sylvio Lin, Manager, Triniti Technology
  • Cold Climate Innovation
  • Solvest Inc.
  • Yukonstruct
  • Triniti Technology
  • Cold Climate Innovation
  • Solvest Inc.
  • Triniti Technology