RWDI and Soltec develop a wind-load analysis method for solar trackers

0

Soltec, a leading manufacturer and supplier of single-axis solar trackers and related services in large ground-mount PV projects, presents Dy-WIND, an innovative method for comprehensive dynamic analysis in tracker wind-design. Soltec has decided to undertake this project after several studies have shown that certain wind-design code standards applied to solar trackers are insufficient to design these structures reliably, as they do not consider the second order effects produced by the action of wind on the tracker.

Conventional wind tunnels use rigid models that do not consider fluid-structure interaction effects such as the aeroelastic response of the structure. These phenomena cause instabilities (torsional galloping/flutter) that can produce the collapse of the trackers. The structure and its components must be designed stiffer and more robust than only applying the unsafe and incomplete current wind regulations and standards.

Only Soltec applies Dy-WIND analysis to tracker wind-design for accurate modeling that leads to precise manufacturing processes,” declared Raúl Morales, CEO of Soltec. “This is essential to making economic calculations regarding the profitability and robustness of a solar tracker plant.

With Dy-WIND, two types of wind tunnel tests are carried out to obtain the necessary aerodynamic parameters of scale models and precious results for the implementation of calculation methods that provide a realistic response of the behavior of solar trackers under the action of the wind.

  • Wind tunnel pressure tests: Static Wind Loading Coefficients are combined with Dynamic Amplification Factors (DAF) to cover the design wind speed ranges, considering the airflow wake behind each row.
  • Wind tunnel dynamic tests: Aerodynamic derivatives obtained allow accurate knowledge of the tracker’s response to wind action. Such parameters are combined with numerical models to obtain Fluttering and Buffeting Analysis Methods.

To develop Dy-WIND, Soltec has teamed up with the renowned engineering consultancy Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc (RWDI), which specializes in wind engineering projects. Matthew T. L. Browne, Technical Director at RWDI, said: “the hybrid experimental-numerical approach developed through working with Soltec accurately estimates tracker behavior under the action of wind in multi-row arrays and allows flexibility in the design process that is generally not practical through full aeroelastic model testing.”

RWDI already has the expertise and wind tunnels that use stereolithography technology, integrated data acquisition, storage and processing systems, computer-aided drafting and a broad base of specialized instrumentation. Some of the most notable projects in which the firm has participated are the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai or the Messina Strait Bridge in Italy.

Soltec’s global operations and workforce of over 750 people blend experience with innovation. The company has manufacturing facilities in Argentina, Brazil, China, and Spain, as well as offices in Australia, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, India, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. With a strong commitment to renewable energy and the environment, the company is dedicated to innovation, product standardization, and customer success.

Dy-WIND takes its place in the extensive list of Soltec historic innovations made standard features that have resulted in the next-generation-now SF7 solar PV tracker whose mission is to find lower cost electricity for customers within their challenging tracker projects.

Source: Soltec