Wind mitigation strategy is a crucial element of solar tracking structural design. FTC Solar deploys a combination zero-degree wind stow position with proprietary dampening technology with its single-axis tracker Voyager.
In a new white paper co-authored with wind engineering experts RWDI and structural engineering firm Engineered Power Solutions (EPS), FTC demonstrates that this approach alleviates the effects of static and dynamic wind loading, preventing catastrophic failure and revenue loss.
“Due to the high level of torsional damping in the model from the dampers, divergent oscillations indicative of aerodynamic instability were not observed in the configurations with at least one damper per half.” – Page 13 of RWDI’s report RWDI #1802993, July 30, 2021
Through testing wind speeds between 105 and 150 mph, RWDI determined that the Voyager tracker remains stable. This unique damping technology is essential as it prevents wind from affecting the surface of the modules, which can ultimately lead to catastrophic failures.
“These large surface area modules with the frames at the outer edge, behave dynamically in new ways that traditional design approaches can’t analyze. This can lead to microcracking and cell failure that is not visible to the naked eye,” said Nagendra Cherukupalli, Chief Technical Officer at FTC Solar. “To alleviate these issues, FTC Solar is pioneering the use of multi-body dynamics simulation to fully characterize the dynamic behavior of Single Axis Trackers (SATs).”
To prevent wind damage during PV plant construction FTC Solar attaches dampers to each row before the modules and sets the row to zero-degree stow, meaning no power or commissioning is required to protect the row from wind effects. Ultimately, this allows each row to be shielded and keeps installers in the field safe.
FTC Solar unveiled its newest Voyager+ Tracker in September 2021, which brought 2P tracking technology to the market to support the transition toward larger format modules and more complex sites.