What is this app about?
The application is addressed as convenient and quick reference instrument which can enhance the work of researchers, design engineers and renewable energy investors.
The support structure of CPV and PV trackers and heliostats are one of the most important cost elements of a solar plant because they typically contribute of ~20% - ~30% to the total cost of the system. Consequently, it is important to reduce the cost of solar trackers or heliostats as much as possible to improve the economic viability of a solar plant.
This app present a new progressive and revolutionary way for optimizing trackers with arbitrary design and geometry. It is based on linear optimization and implemented as a custom-built finite element library. Stress and buckling (lateral and local) validations are performed in conformity to Eurocode EN 1993-1-1 - Design of steel structures. Wind load assumptions are taken from the wind tunnel studies of Peterka and Derickson and applied as non uniform load distributions on the tracker surface. Additional national standards can be considered by setting appropriate safety factors for wind and dead load.
To perform a preliminary design of a tracker the user has the possibility to set following parameters:
Safety factors for
- Dead load
- Wind load
- Tracker width
- Tracker height
- Tracker elevation (0° to 90° in 10° steps)
- Ground clearance
Site dependent factors
- Wind velocity
- Wind direction (0° to 180° in 15° steps)
- Field factor
- Steel grade according Eurocode EN 10025
After running the FEM analysis the application performs a linear optimization of the entire tracker to minimize the total structure weight. The output is bill of material that summarizes the amount of required steel and distinguishes between five different structural elements: purlins, purlin support beams, cross beams, torsion beam and the post. The maximum forces and moments acting on the elevation and azimuth drives are listed in a short table.
Please take a look at the user manual for more details.