Learning Lab

Wind Loads on Solar Photovoltaic Installations

Wind Loads on Solar Photovoltaic Installations

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Sarah Stenabaugh
Technical Coordinator
+1.519.823.1311 x2734
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October 31, 2018
12:00 PM, Chicago Time (GMT-5)
60 min


Solar photovoltaic installations utilize previously unexploited spaces such as building roofs, parking lots, and non-agricultural land to generate electrical power for direct use or feeding back into the grid.  Designers are often faced with obtaining permits from building departments and codes and standards appropriate for design of solar arrays have been slow to come.  Wind is one of the biggest environmental loading issues to be dealt with and can be highly specific to the site and layout of the system.  This presentation will provide a solid background on the issues related to aerodynamics of solar PV arrays based on the extensive testing carried out in RWDI’s wind tunnels, providing examples of specifics of roof-mounted and ground-mounted as well as more current issues such as wind-induced vibration.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn about the characteristics of turbulent winds as they pertain to the important loading of solar photovoltaic installations on roofs and on the ground.
  2. Learn about the effects of local aerodynamics of the array and the building on which an array is mounted.
  3. Learn about scale modeling techniques for determining wind loads on solar PV systems including limitations and applicability of various approaches. 
  4. Learn about the physics involved with snow accumulation and drifting around solar arrays.

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