Learning Lab

Understanding wind-induced vibration of single-axis solar trackers

Understanding wind-induced vibration of single-axis solar trackers

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Matthew Browne
Technical Director | Principal
+1.519.823.1311 x2279
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December 10, 2020
1:00 PM, Riyadh Time (GMT+3)
60 min


Single-axis solar trackers have become increasingly popular in recent years.  These structures are typically quite flexible which makes them prone to aeroelastic effects.  Turbulent fluctuations are intense near the ground, and a description of these fluctuations will be provided in terms of determining the wind loading experienced by tracker arrays.  These fluctuating wind loads cause motion in the trackers and introduce additional forces for the structure to resist.  Explanations of these forces will be provided with demonstrations of the various experimental and numerical tools used in their prediction.  Aerodynamic stiffness and aerodynamic damping will be introduced in the context of tracker stability.  Finally, design implications and potential mitigation strategies will be discussed.     

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about atmospheric turbulence and its connection to wind loading in a tracker array.
  • Learn about aeroelastic effects leading to motion-induced wind forces of trackers.
  • Learn about aerodynamic stiffness and aerodynamic damping as they relate to tracker stability.
  • Learn about design implications of these aeroelastic effects as well as potential mitigation strategies.

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