Wind Load on Solar Panels Analysis Spreadsheet to SEAOC PV2 and ASCE 7-10
If you consider installing Solar Panels on your, or your client's, roof then this is the tool for you. It will help you check whether this is feasible by calculating required ballast weight / fixings forces / roof loads from wind acting on Solar Panels (also called: solar modules, photovoltaic modules, photovoltaic panels or PV modules). The design is in accordance with SEAOC PV2 (Wind design for low-profile solar photovoltaic arrays on flat roofs by Structural Engineers Association of California) and with ASCE 7-10 (for solar photovoltaic arrays on pitched roofs like gable and hipped roof). The spreadsheet is in imperial units.
This spreadsheet is extremely easy to follow, and no engineering knowledge is required to use it. This is achieved by maximising automatic calculations (edge factors and pressure coefficients are automatically calculated based on diagrams in standards). There are "live" diagrams with dimensions for easy verification of input. Therefore even a regular house owner will be able to use this spreadsheet to calculate the required ballast weight or fixing forces.
The spreadsheets covers the following types of Solar Panels:
Photovoltaic modules with ballast:
This type of modules does not require any fixings into existing roof structure and hence there is no need to penetrate existing roof membrane. Making this a very convenient and easy way of post-installing Photovoltaic arrays. The spreadsheet calculates ballast weight required to prevent uplift and sliding as per SEAOC PV2 guidelines.
Photovoltaic modules fixed to flat or pitched roof:
Pitched roofs are very common in US. To use these for supporting PV modules it is necessary to fix directly to loadbearing elements within the roof structure. In such a case it is essential to calculate fixing forces holding a PV module and hence loads on a supporting roof. These calculations are covered by this spreadsheet. If you have a flat roof but it is not man enough to support ballast weight then you should explore this type of PV modules. The spreadsheets assumes there are four fixings points per panel i.e. one fixing point in each corner of PV panel.
- For flat and pitched roofs (gable and hipped roofs);
- Extremely easy to use;
- Diagrams with dimensions on to help verify input;
- Does not require any engineering knowledge hence can be used be a regular house owner who would like to save on energy bills and wants to install PV units;
- A clear and easy to read output (all on a single page);
- Covers three PV types:
1) PV modules mounted on pitched roofs;
2) PV stands mounted on flat roofs - free standing (with ballast);
3) PV stands mounted on flat roofs - mechanically fixed;
- Automatically calculates edge factors and pressure coefficients;
- Option to specify roof obstructions that affect PV panels;
- For ballasted PV modules, spreadsheet checks sliding and uplfit as per SEAOC PV2 guidelines;
- For fixed PV modules, spreadsheet gives forces for which fixings should be designed;
- Option to specify parapet height;
- Option to include reduction due to wind tunnel testing or load sharing;
- Imperial units;
- Live diagrams;
- Quick summary of results;
- Design is based on SEAOC PV2 (2012) and ASCE 7-10 (2010).
(Note: macros must be enabled for proper working of the spreadsheet. Follow instructions in this video)
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PLEASE NOTE: The file is in XLSM format. If after downloading you get an error message about invalid file format (XLSX) then please update your web browser or use a different one and re-download the file. Some versions of Microsoft Edge, Microsoft IE are known to corrupt XLSM files upon download by changing these to XLSX format, making these unreadable in Excel.