Wind Effects on Solar Energy Systems

Helping manufacturers optimize the wind stability of photovoltaic racking

Demand for roof- and ground-mounted photovoltaic systems is exploding—and the field is crowded with would-be suppliers. You need an edge to stand out, and there isn’t much margin for error in either performance or cost.

Solar arrays

A particular risk for such systems is damage from wind gusts. But if you’re trying to design a wind-resilient solar array, you’ll hit a wall: Good engineering guidance from traditional sources just doesn’t exist.

The design wind loading values specified in building codes are based on general shape guidelines. But solar arrays are complex, and wind flows around them are equally complex. Thus the aerodynamic assumptions in standard codes are not truly accurate for these complex geometries. In this situation, how do you balance structural innovation with wind safety, budget with feasibility?

Our service

We help manufacturers of photovoltaic systems understand and improve how solar arrays will behave in wind gusts. We offer consulting services that are responsive to your timetable, budget and technical needs.

Drawing on more than 30 years’ worth of data and expertise, we’ll give you customized, targeted recommendations for applying your product in a wide range of locations and situations—or in a specific project.

For example, with the more accurate wind loads that we can provide, you can design more effective anchoring systems and module clamps and fasteners. You can also calculate more accurately the necessary structural member strength, module strength and tracking drive power.

We always deliver our advice in a simple format, similar to building codes, so you can apply it immediately.

If you bring us a problem we haven’t seen before, we do the necessary wind tunnel research to enhance our knowledge. For site-specific questions, we collaborate with colleagues who have experience in other areas, such as meteorology or drifting and blowing snow, to make sure we have considered all contributing factors.