Semester of Graduation

Summer 2022

Degree

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

With an increase in the number of hurricanes causing major structural damage and a rise in the installation of residential solar energy systems comes the need for detailed research into the effects the photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays have on wind loads acting on the supporting structure. This thesis reviews the available reports on roof damage specifically on low-rise gable roof buildings with and without solar PV panels. A 1:7.5 scale model was constructed and tested in the Open Jet wind facility at Louisiana State University to determine how the wind loads vary when the solar panels are installed on the roof. On average, the addition of solar panels provides 8% reduction in the magnitude of minimum pressures across the roof. The test model was then adjusted to account for two configurations of solar array racking systems typically used in residential installations and tested under the same flow conditions. The results show that the installation of solar PV arrays provides varying benefits depending on the wind direction and reduces the overall force on the roof components due to pressure equalization causing net positive pressures on some solar panels. The addition of the solar panels provides approximately 56% reductions to the overall pressure acting on the roof components under the panels which is equivalent to reducing the wind speed on a bare roof by 33%. The results from these tests provide insight for the solar industry and future solar array designs.

Date

7-11-2022

Committee Chair

Aly, Aly Mousaad

Available for download on Monday, July 09, 2029

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