DIY PV Rack Graphical Abstract.jpg
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Type Paper
Year 2022
Location London, ON, Canada
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Status Designed
Verified by FAST
Made Yes
Replicated No
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Although small solar photovoltaic (PV) systems avoid most soft costs, they still have a relatively high $/W value due to racking costs. In order to fulfill the promise of small-scale plug-and-play solar, a do-it-yourself PV rack design is provided and analyzed here for six criteria: (1) made from locally-accessible renewable materials, (2) 25-year lifetime to match PV warranties, (3) able to be fabricated by average consumers, (4) able to meet Canadian structural building codes, (5) low cost and (6) that it is shared using an open-source license. The open-source wood-based fixed-tilt ground-mounted bifacial photovoltaic rack design evaluated here was found to be appropriate throughout North America. Economic analysis of the bill of materials showed the racking system ranges from 49% to 77% less expensive compared to commercial proprietary racking in Canada. The racking design, however, is highly dependent on the cost of lumber that varies widely throughout the world. Even for an absolute lower-cost design in Togo due to a lower fixed tilt angle and lower loads from lack of snow, it was not found to be economic because of the relatively high cost of wood. The recent volatile lumber market warrants local evaluation from those considering the use of the open-source design. This design, however, provides for a PV rack that can be manufactured with distributed means throughout most of the world enabling more equitable access to solar energy to support a circular bioeconomy.


DIY PV Rack Graphical Abstract.jpg

Keywords[edit | edit source]

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

See also[edit | edit source]

Open Source Photovoltaic Racking Approaches[edit source]


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