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Module wind load resistance: Standards vs. reality

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With extreme weather events becoming all too common, and a growing list of PV projects that have been damaged or destroyed by strong winds, ensuring that mounting structures are able to withstand the pressures they’ll face in the field is a vital concern for all involved. In this pv magazine Webinar, we’ll examine where current testing standards may fall short, and what this means for suppliers of trackers and mounting structures. And we’ll also be treated to a closer look at Gamechange Solar’s testing program, which takes into account the different pressure gradients across a module’s surface in a high wind environment; and ensures ample wind resistance.


Module wind load resistance: Standards vs. reality

Comprehensive testing at every stage has been vital to the solar industry’s impressive growth to date – investors, insurers, and other project stakeholders all need some assurance that this still young technology can live up to expectations, particularly when those expectations are centered around the entire system being installed outdoors and left to the elements for a lifetime of 20 years or more.

When it comes to trackers, proving reliable wind resistance is among the most vital of these tests. However, a closer look at common wind loading standards reveals that they do not accurately represent the way the wind loads the module. In this pv magazine Webinar, we’ll look at this in detail, as well as how bifacial and large format modules impact the maximum wind speed that can be supported by the modules and tracker system.

We’ll be joined by Yarrow Fewless, Principal at CPP Wind Engineering, who will demonstrate how the wind pressure PV systems are under in the field often does not match with what they’re tested against, leaving the door open for costly failures after installation.

Following on from Yarrow; Scott Van Pelt, Chief Engineer at GameChange Solar will take us through their module testing procedure that more accurately simulate the distribution of stress caused by wind in the field, and how findings gained from these have influenced the design of the company’s latest tracker system.

Finally, Daniel Chang, VP of Business Development at the Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), will share his expertise on different combinations of module and racking systems, and how the latest round of module technology upgrades – in particular bifacial and the switch to larger formats – affect how the mechanical rating of the system and therefore the maximum wind speed it can support.
pv magazine Webinar content:
• Illustrate Wind load patterns on solar trackers.
• How module and racking combinations affect system structural performance
• Impacts of large format modules and bifacial technology
• Q&A

Questions can be submitted beforehand or during the webinar through a chat window. Mark Hutchins, editor at pv magazine, will be the moderator of this webinar.

Registration for this pv magazine Webinar is free of charge.


Daniel H.S. Chang | VP of Business Development, RETC

Daniel Chang is the VP of Business Development at RETC, an independent test lab for PV products. He is a seasoned industry veteran with over 15 years of technical sales and product management experience in the solar and semiconductor industry. Prior to joining RETC, Daniel has held roles in engineering, technical sales, and product management at First Solar, Jinko Solar, Trina Solar, SunPower, and Applied Materials. Daniel is a graduate of the UC Berkeley with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Scott Van Pelt | Chief Engineer, GameChange Solar

Scott Van Pelt is Chief Engineer of GameChange Solar and is responsible for the execution and accuracy of GameChange’s technical deliverables. He is a Professional Engineer licensed in sixteen states and functions as the Structural Engineer of Record for many of the company’s projects. With over a decade of experience in the renewable energy space, Scott has served as a member of several national and international standards committees.

Yarrow Fewless | Principal, CPP

Yarrow is a Principal with CPP Wind Engineering, with over 16 years of experience, focusing his efforts on wind loads on solar structures and other unique structures. He has conducted/directed wind tunnel studies and consultation for numerous roof-mounted and ground-mounted structures for collecting solar energy, as well as building structural dynamics, cladding pressures, door operability, pedestrian comfort, and ground wind loads on rockets and launch pad structures.


Mark Hutchins | Magazine Director, pv magazine

Mark Hutchins joined pv magazine as production editor for our monthly global title in September 2016. He also reports on upstream technology and markets, and new and emerging solar regions for both print and online. Mark has experience in copywriting, music journalism and the fast-paced world of startups.

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