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Title: Real-time POD-CFD Wind-Load Calculator for PV Systems

The primary objective of this project is to create an accurate web-based real-time wind-load calculator. This is of paramount importance for (1) the rapid and accurate assessments of the uplift and downforce loads on a PV mounting system, (2) identifying viable solutions from available mounting systems, and therefore helping reduce the cost of mounting hardware and installation. Wind loading calculations for structures are currently performed according to the American Society of Civil Engineers/ Structural Engineering Institute Standard ASCE/SEI 7; the values in this standard were calculated from simplified models that do not necessarily take into account relevant characteristics such as those from full 3D effects, end effects, turbulence generation and dissipation, as well as minor effects derived from shear forces on installation brackets and other accessories. This standard does not include provisions that address the special requirements of rooftop PV systems, and attempts to apply this standard may lead to significant design errors as wind loads are incorrectly estimated. Therefore, an accurate calculator would be of paramount importance for the preliminary assessments of the uplift and downforce loads on a PV mounting system, identifying viable solutions from available mounting systems, and therefore helping reduce the cost of the mounting systemmore » and installation. The challenge is that although a full-fledged three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis would properly and accurately capture the complete physical effects of air flow over PV systems, it would be impractical for this tool, which is intended to be a real-time web-based calculator. CFD routinely requires enormous computation times to arrive at solutions that can be deemed accurate and grid-independent even in powerful and massively parallel computer platforms. This work is expected not only to accelerate solar deployment nationwide, but also help reach the SunShot Initiative goals of reducing the total installed cost of solar energy systems by 75%. The largest percentage of the total installed cost of solar energy system is associated with balance of system cost, with up to 40% going to “soft” costs; which include customer acquisition, financing, contracting, permitting, interconnection, inspection, installation, performance, operations, and maintenance. The calculator that is being developed will provide wind loads in real-time for any solar system designs and suggest the proper installation configuration and hardware; and therefore, it is anticipated to reduce system design, installation and permitting costs.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Centecorp
  2. FSEC
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1124137
Report Number(s):
DOE-CENTECORP-SC0010161
DOE Contract Number:
SC0010161
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Central Technological Corporation (Centecorp)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Contributing Orgs:
Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY Photovoltaic systems, Wind-load Calculator, Fluid Mechanics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Numerical Methods, Proper Orthogonal Decomposition, Radial Basis Functions, Structural Design