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Extreme damping – A new wind mitigation strategy for trackers

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Join this pv magazine webinar with our initiative partner FTC Solar and learn about their new wind mitigation strategy. Also, on the agenda, we will discuss the differences between deploying a lot of stiffness or damping to deal with high wind conditions.


Discussion participants

Mitch Bowman, Sr Director of Sales Operations, FTC Solar
Matthew B. Gilliss, CEO & President, Engineered Power Solutions
Zachary Taylor, Technical Director, RWDI


Marian Willuhn, Editor, pv magazine

Extreme damping – A new wind mitigation strategy for trackers

Strong wind gusts whipping across a solar field always pose a grave concern to any owner of single-axis tracker installations. Reports of such arrays experiencing structural failures or damages to the modules spread caution among project developers. Torsional instability, which causes the modules to oscillate in a self-exciting fashion, is the culprit.

Since then, engineers have kept busy finding a solution to the problem. And over at tracker manufacturer FTC Solar, engineers have come up with a unique approach that protects the modules and the tracker as well as possible. A new damping system will dissipate the forces, and that offers some advantages over other strategies – horizontal stow, lower material costs, and higher reliability being some of them.

Join this pv magazine Webinar with our initiative partner FTC Solar and learn about this new wind mitigation strategy. Also, on the agenda, we will discuss the differences between deploying a lot of stiffness or damping to deal with high wind conditions.

Mitch Bowman, Sr Director of Sales Operations with FTC Solar will join us and share his expertise on tracker design and managing wind forces. Structural damage and modules being scattered across the array might make bigger headlines. But even at lower winds, modules can suffer invisible damage such as microcracks, causing the performance to drop dramatically. A problem that FTC Solar’s solution has addressed.

The damping system has been designed and verified jointly with the wind tunnel experts at RWDI. Zachary Taylor, Technical Director at RWDI, will share his expertise on static and dynamic wind loads on single-axis trackers with us. And he will also explain to us why it is essential to perform wind tunnel analyses to verify the aeroelastic stability of trackers.

Also, joining this webinar is Matt Gilliss, founder of structural engineering office EPS – a company with a long-standing track record of structural verification in North Americas solar industry. EPS has been greatly involved in the design and verification of this solution.

pv magazine Webinar content:

  • Storm damage in the tracker industry
  • What is the right stow angle?
  • FTC Solar’s new wind mitigation system
  • Aeroelastic stability of trackers and wind tunnel reports
  • Q&A

Questions can be submitted beforehand or during the webinar through a chat window. Marian Willuhn, Editor at pv magazine, will be the moderator of this webinar.

Registration for this pv magazine Webinar is free of charge.


Mitch Bowman | Sr Director of Sales Operations, FTC Solar

Mitch has over 10 years of professional experience in the solar power industry starting with work at SolFocus leading design, installation & commissioning of systems around the world. He moved on to lead the Global Design and Engineering team at SunEdison before joining FTC Solar as its Director of Engineering at the start of 2017. Mitch has Masters degrees in Business & Industrial Engineering from Cal Polytechnic and also holds a B.S. in Physics.

Matthew B. Gilliss | CEO & President, Engineered Power Solutions

Matthew founded Engineered Power Solutions, Inc. (EPS) in 2012 which specializes in providing structural engineering support for the solar and power industries. He has provided engineering for over a thousand projects, totaling over 2 Gigawatts of power in over 15 states and is a Member/Consultant on the Structural Engineering Association of California (SEAOC) PV Committee. EPS specializes in efficiency engineering for both roof and ground mounted solar projects with experience in working with wind tunnel testing facilities, geotechnical engineers, and corrosion experts in order to provide safe and reliable structural racking designs.

Zachary Taylor | Technical Director, RWDI

A specialist in fluid-structure interaction and bluff body aerodynamics, Zachary Taylor offers RWDI’s clients elegant solutions to optimize the aeroelastic performance of structures. Working on some of the world’s most complex and flexible structures including long-span bridges and single-axis solar trackers, Zachary combines real-world technical expertise with a remarkable depth of research experience. Whether performing complex wind tunnel tests or numerical simulations on the aeroelastic effects of a flexible structure, Zachary helps clients understand and manage the interactions between structures and the wind.

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