Design And Testing Of Wind Deflectors For Roof-mounted Solar Panels
Free (open access)
15 - 27
G. V. Kudav, Y. M. Panta & M. Yatsco
The amount of solar energy that can be produced in the US and throughout the world has seen an unprecedented potential to fulfill growing energy demand. Solar panels can be installed on the ground or on the roof of a building. Roof mounted solar panels could experience occasional high wind loads especially lift and drag forces. Solar panels are bolted directly onto the roof and are secured using ballasts as counter weights against the wind loads. We propose the use of efficient wind deflectors designed and strategically placed in front of the panels as reported here. The deflectors under study were proven to minimize the wind loads on solar panels, ensuring the safety of civilians and surrounding property. The present study utilizes wind tunnel testing and computational simulation using the commercial computational fluid dynamics software ANSYS Fluent for a steady, turbulent wind flow (standard k-å model) over an inclined rooftop-solar panel. The study shows promising results in the prediction of the wind forces for an effectively designed wind management system. As specified earlier, results were compared and validated by both wind tunnel experiments and computational simulations for a meaningful conclusion. Solar panels with various aspect ratios for high incoming wind speeds in the range 40–50 m/s (i.e. 90–110 mph) with several angles of attack were modeled and simulated. We report the analysis of high wind loads on the solar panels leading to the design of an optimized wind deflector to counter such loads. It was concluded that an elliptically profiled wind deflector, with uniformly spaced short fins that were positioned before the tilted panels, was proven to minimize the high wind loads by as much as half, compared to the wind loads without the deflector. Keywords: rooftop solar panels, solar panel deflectors, wind loads, ballast.
rooftop solar panels, solar panel deflectors, wind loads, ballast.