CFD Simulation of Turbulent Wind Effect on an Array of Ground-Mounted Solar PV Panels

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Abstract

Aim of the present study is to determine the wind loads on the PV panels in a solar array since panels are vulnerable to high winds. Extensive damages of PV panels, arrays and mounting modules have been reported the world over due to high winds. Solar array of dimension 6 m × 4 m having 12 PV panels of size 1 m × 2 m on 3D 1:50 scaled models have been simulated using unsteady solver with Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes equations of computational fluid dynamics techniques to study the turbulent wind effects on PV panels. A standalone solar array with 30° tilt angle in atmospheric surface layer with the Renormalized Group (RNG) turbulence closure subjected to incident wind varied from − 90° to 90°. The net pressure, drag and lift coefficients are found to be maximum when the wind is flowing normally to the PV panel either 90° or − 90°. The tilt angle of solar arrays the world over not vary on the latitude but also on the seasons. Keeping this in mind the ground mounted PV panels in array with varying tilt angle from 10° to 60° at an interval of 10° have been analyzed for normal wind incident i.e. 90° and − 90° using unsteady RNG turbulence model. Net pressure coefficients have been calculated and found to be increasing with increase in array tilting angle. Maximum net pressure coefficient was observed for the 60° tilted PV array for 90° and − 90° wind incident having value of 0.938 and 0.904 respectively. The results can be concluded that the PV panels are subjected to significant lift and drag forces under wind loading, which needs to be quantified with sufficient factor of safety to avoid damages.

Keywords

CFD Wind loads Solar arrays Unsteady RNG turbulence model 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work presented is the part of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Govt. of India sponsored project entitled, “Determination of Wind Forces on Solar Photovoltaic Panels Mounted on Different Types of Roof and on/above Ground in India using Computational Fluid Dynamics Techniques”.

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Copyright information

© The Institution of Engineers (India) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and TechnologyAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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