Analysis of structural deformation and deformation-induced solar radiation misalignment in a tracking photovoltaic system

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to develop a computer-aided engineering (CAE) technique to assess the structural integrity and deformation-induced misalignment of solar radiation in a 2-kW tracking photovoltaic (PV) system. Finite element analysis (FEA) approach is employed to investigate the effects of self-weight and wind loads on the structural deformation and misalignment of solar radiation. Distributions of stress, deformation, and deformation-induced misalignment of solar radiation are calculated for several loading conditions, including gravity alone and gravity plus a wind speed of 7m/s or 12m/s with various blowing directions. Strain changes at two selected locations in the given solar tracker are measured experimentally for various elevation angles, under no wind conditions. A good agreement between the experimental data and simulated results is found for self-weight effect such that the constructed FEA model is validated under windless conditions. Simulations indicate no structural failure is predicted for all components in the given solar tracker under all of the given loading conditions according to the von Mises failure criterion. Solar radiation misalignment and resultant displacement in the PV modules vary with elevation angle in a similar trend. The maximum misalignment of solar radiation for each wind direction occurs at the PV module on the windward side of the PV array. Among the given loading conditions, the absolute maximum misalignment of solar radiation is of 1.48° for a wind speed of 12m/s. Such a misalignment value is not expected to cause a significant loss of power generation for the given PV system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Misalignment of solar radiation
  • Photovoltaic system
  • Solar tracker
  • Structural deformation
  • Wind load

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