Predicting Instability and the Effect of Wind Loading on Single-Axis Trackers

Research output: NRELPoster


As PV modules continue to trend toward larger, thinner, and more flexible forms they grow more susceptible to damage from dynamic wind loading. As a result, understanding the impact of wind on PV systems, particularly when mounted on solar-tracking hardware, and identifying robust, stable array layouts and stow strategies is becoming increasingly important for the PV community. In our ongoing DuraMAT project, we are developing an open-source software package, PVade (PV aerodynamic design engineering), to simulate the cascading fluid-structure interaction that occurs within solar-tracking arrays to enable researchers to test hardware, layout, and tracker control changes, leading to enhanced stability and a reduction in wind-driven damage. We will give an overview of the PVade software, highlighting recent user-interface and algorithm developments, before presenting the latest outcomes from our ongoing validation campaign in which we analyze and compare with experimental data obtained from a DuraMAT 1 project. From there, we will present simulated results from a larger, multi-row array and highlight relationships between varying tracker angles and stability as measured by different experimentally validated metrics.
Original languageAmerican English
PublisherNational Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NamePresented at the Photovoltaic Reliability Workshop (PVRW), 27-29 February 2024, Lakewood, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-2C00-89033


  • fluid structure interaction
  • loading
  • PV
  • torsional galloping
  • wind


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