Wind Loading on Tracking and Field Mounted 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 limits 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 recognitionand qualitative understanding of many of the physical phenomena involved. Loading coefficients corresponding to mean wind velocities have been derived to measure the expected structural loading on the various solar collectors. This paper, which is an outgrowth of a larger study, discusses current design and testing procedures-for wind loading. The test results corresponding to numerous windtests 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 toto, these data show that load reductions ofthree, or possibly more, seem 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 pages11
    StatePublished - 1980

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-632-958


    • solar collectors
    • wind loading


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