Project data
Authors Jacob Franz
Stephen Morse
Joshua M. Pearce
Location London, ON, Canada
Status Designed
Verified by FAST
Completed 2022
Made? Yes
Replicated? No
Uses Environmental
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Although solar photovoltaic (PV) module costs have been declining aggressively there has been only modest capital cost improvements for the balance of systems (BoS) in general, and for racking in particular. For small-scale PV systems racking can make up the majority of the capital expenditures. To overcome this challenge, in this study a novel parametric mobile low-cost open source racking system is designed using open source software and validated with numerical modeling. The system is designed to use readily accessible vertically-mounted conduit and steel cables and be built with common hand tools so that it is easily replicable in remote areas and the developing world. It can be assembled and deployed in half an hour and easily dissembled and flat-packed for transport. The system can be fabricated for less than commercial racks and is completely customizable in terms of tilt angle and size.

The racking system is designed to resist light to moderate wind loads consistent with everyday breezes rather than those commonly used for structural design which are based on extreme events; as it is assumed the racking system will be disassembled and stowed prior to an extreme wind event.


Tctscover.png Create-Joshua-Pearce.png Pearce Publications
Energy Conservation Energy Policy Industrial SymbiosisLife Cycle Analysis Materials Science Open SourceMedical Photovoltaic Systems Solar CellsSustainable Development Sustainability Education

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Highlights[edit | edit source]

  • Small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems racking is majority of capital expenditures
  • Novel parametric mobile low-cost open source racking system
  • Designed using open source software and validated with numerical modeling.
  • Vertically-mounted conduit and steel cables, built with common hand tools
  • Fabrication costs < commercial racks; completely customizable for tilt angle + size.

Keywords[edit | edit source]

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

Mechanical design; Frugal engineering; Open hardware

See also[edit | edit source]

Open Source Photovoltaic Racking Approaches[edit source]

Page data
Part of FAST Completed
Type Project
Keywords energy, solar energy, solar power, photovoltaics, sustainable development, Mechanical engineering, Racking, mechanical design, balance of systems, renewable energy, Frugal engineering, Open hardware
SDG Sustainable Development Goals SDG07 Affordable and clean energy, SDG08 Decent work and economic growth, SDG09 Industry innovation and infrastructure, SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
Authors Joshua M. Pearce
Published 2022
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
Affiliations FAST, Western University
Language English (en)
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