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Type Paper
Year 2024
Location London, ON, Canada
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Vandewetering, N.; Jamil, U.; Pearce, J.M. Ballast-Supported Foundation Designs for Low-Cost Open-Source Solar Photovoltaic Racking. Designs 2024, 8, 17. academia open access, preprint
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Status Designed
Verified by FAST
Made Yes
Replicated No
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Although solar photovoltaic (PV) system costs have declined, capital cost remains a barrier to widespread adoption. Do-it-yourself (DIY) system designs can significantly reduce labor costs, but if they are not attached to a building structure, they require ground penetrating footings. This is not technically and economically feasible at all sites. To overcome these challenges, this study details systems designed to (1) eliminate drilling holes and pouring concrete, (2) propose solutions for both fixed and variable tilt systems, (3) remain cost effective, and (4) allow for modifications to best fit the user’s needs. The ballast-supported foundations are analyzed for eight systems by proposing two separate ballast designs: one for a single line of post systems, and one for a double line of post systems, both built on a 4-kW basis. The results of the analysis found that both designs are slightly more expensive than typical in-ground concrete systems by 25% (assuming rocks are purchased at a landscaping company), but the overall DIY system’s costs remain economically advantageous. Sensitivity analyses are conducted to show how modifications to the dimensions influence the weight of the system and thus change the economic value of the design, so users can trade dimensional freedom for cost savings, and vice versa. Overall, all wood-based PV racking system designs provide users with cost-effective and easy DIY alternatives to conventional metal racking, and the novel ballast systems presented provide more versatility for PV systems installations.


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Keywords[edit | edit source]

Sustainable development; Open-source; Photovoltaic; Racking; racking; solar energy; biomaterials; wood; photovoltaic; mechanical design; balance of systems; renewable energy; ballast

See also[edit | edit source]

Open Source Photovoltaic Racking Approaches[edit source]


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