Vertical Swinging Wooden PV Racking Graphical Abstract.jpg
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Type Paper
Year 2023
Location London, ON, Canada

Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Vandewetering, N., Hayibo, K. S., & Pearce, J. M. (2023). Open-Source Vertical Swinging Wood-Based Solar Photovoltaic Racking Systems. Designs, 7(2), Article 2.

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Status Designed
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Vertical bifacial solar photovoltaic (PV) racking systems offer the opportunity for large-scale agrivoltaics to be employed at farms producing field crops with conventional farming equipment. Unfortunately, commercial proprietary vertical racks cost more than all types of conventional PV farm racking solutions. To overcome these cost barriers, this study reports on the development of a new wood-based PV racking design. The open-source design consists of a hinge mechanism, which reduces mechanical loading and enables wood to be used as the main structural material, and is the first of its kind. This open-source vertical wood-based PV rack is (i) constructed from locally accessible (domestic) renewable and sustainable materials, (ii) able to be made with hand tools by the average farmer on site, (iii) possesses a 25-year lifetime to match PV warranties, and (iv) is structurally sound, following Canadian building codes to weather high wind speeds and heavy snow loads. The results showed that the capital cost of the racking system is less expensive than the commercial equivalent and all of the previous wood-based rack designs, at a single unit retail cost of CAD 0.21. The racking LCOE is 77% of the cost of an equivalent commercial racking system using retail small-scale component costs, and is 22%, 34%, and 38% less expensive than commercial metal vertical racking, wood fixed tilt racking, and wood seasonal tilt racking costs, respectively. Overall, wooden vertical swinging PV racking provides users with a low-cost, highly available alternative to conventional metal vertical racking, along with a potential increase in energy yield in high wind areas thanks to its unique swinging mechanism.

Vertical Swinging Wooden PV Racking Graphical Abstract.jpg

Keywords[edit | edit source]

Sustainable development; Open-source; Photovoltaic; racking; solar energy; biomaterials; wood; photovoltaic; mechanical design; balance of systems; renewable energy; open source; do-it-yourself; agrivoltaics

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Open Source Photovoltaic Racking Approaches[edit source]


Services provided by agrivoltaics are: renewable electricity generation, decreased green-house gas emissions, reduced climate change, increased crop yield, plant protection from excess solar energy, plant protection from inclement weather such as hail, water conservation, agricultural employment, local food, improved health from pollution reduction increased revenue for farmers, a hedge against inflation, the potential to produce nitrogen fertilizer on farm, on farm production of renewable fuels such as anhydrous ammonia or hydrogen, and electricity for EV charging for on- or off-farm use.
Agrivoltaics Canada - What is Agrivoltaics

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