Assessment of Existing Studies of Wind Loading on Solar Collectors

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    In developing solar collectors, wind loading is the major structural design consideration. Wind loading investigations have focused on establishing safe bounds for steady state loading and verifying rational but initial and conservative design approaches for the various solar collector concepts. As such, the effort has been very successful, and has contributed greatly to both the recognition andqualitative understanding of many of the physical phenomena involved. Loading coefficients corresponding to mean wind velocities have been derived in these prior studies to measure the expected structural loading on the various solar collectors. This paper discusses current design and testing procedures for wind loading. The test results corresponding to numerous wind tests on heliostats,parabolic troughs, parabolic dishes, and field mounted photovoltaic arrays are discussed and the applicability of the findings across the various technologies is assessed. One of the most significant consistencies in the data from all of the technologies is the apparent benefit provided by fences and field shielding. Taken in total, these data show that load reductions of three or possibly moreseem feasible, though a more thorough understanding of the phenomena involved must be attained before this benefit can be realized. It is recommended that the required understanding be developed to take advantage of this benefit and that field tests be conducted to correlate with both analyses and tests.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages44
    StatePublished - 1981

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TR-632-812


    • solar collectors
    • wind loading


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