Background[edit | edit source]

Undergraduate civil engineering student at Western University, and a bridge engineering intern at the Ministry of Transportation. Designer, builder, and academic writer of DIY open-source wooden solar racking systems.

Interested in structural design, analysis, material engineering, and structural integration with PV systems.

Proficient in AutoCAD, SAP 2000, and Microsoft Office.

Research[edit | edit source]

Currently researching Open Source Appropriate Technology under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Pearce for FAST.

Developing a series of sustainable open source wood-based PV racking articles, providing DIY instructions on how to design and build an outdoor wooden PV rack in correspondence with Canadian building codes and specifications. Thus far, work has been done in fixed tilt, variable tilt, vertical, and EV Carport PV racking systems that follow these objectives. Moreover, developing a series of low-cost DIY metal racking systems, all with materials readily available at local hardware stores.

Creating a literature review on substituting Portland concrete cement with acrylonitrile styrene acrylate (ASA) and other recycled plastic composites. In the process of load testing plastic composite samples, following ASTM standards, to create a mix with compressive stress greater or equal to 30 MPa.

Publications[edit | edit source]

DIY Low-Cost Open Source Wooden PV Racking Systems[edit | edit source]

DIY PV Rack Graphical Abstract.jpg

This 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. 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.

Vandewetering, N.; Hayibo, K.S.; Pearce, J.M. Impacts of Location on Designs and Economics of DIY Low-Cost Fixed-Tilt Open Source Wood Solar Photovoltaic Racking. Designs 2022, 6, 41, doi:10.3390/designs6030041.

Variable-Tilt Angle DIY Wood-Based Solar Photovoltaic Racking Systems[edit | edit source]


To determine if wood racking provides enough savings to enable labor to be exchanged profitably for higher solar electric output, this article develops a novel variable tilt angle open-source wood-based do-it-yourself (DIY) PV rack that can be built and adjusted at exceptionally low costs. A detailed levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) production analysis is performed after the optimal monthly tilt angles are determined for a range of latitudes. The results show the racking systems with an optimal variable seasonal tilt angle have the best lifetime energy production, with 5.2% more energy generated compared to the fixed-tilt system (or 4.8% more energy, if limited to a maximum tilt angle of 60°). Both fixed and variable wooden racking systems show similar LCOE, which is only 29% of the LCOE of commercial metal racking. The results of this study indicate that the novel variable tilt rack, whether used as a small-scale DIY project or scaled up to fulfill larger energy demands, provides both the lowest cost option even when modest labor costs are included and also may provide specific advantages for applications such as agrivoltaics.

Vandewetering, N.; Hayibo, K.S.; Pearce, J.M. Open-Source Design and Economics of Manual Variable-Tilt Angle DIY Wood-Based Solar Photovoltaic Racking System. Designs 2022, 6, 54.

Open Source PV-EV Carport Systems[edit | edit source]

Carport PV Graphical Abstract.pdf

Solar powering the increasing fleet of electrical vehicles (EV) demands more surface area than may be available for photovoltaic (PV)-powered buildings. Parking lot solar canopies can provide the needed area to charge EVs but are substantially costlier than roof- or ground-mounted PV systems. To provide a low-cost PV parking lot canopy to supply EV charging, in this study, we provide a full mechanical and economic analysis of three novel PV canopy systems: (1) an exclusively wood, single-parking-spot spanning system, (2) a wood and aluminum double-parking-spot spanning system, and (3) a wood and aluminum cantilevered system for curbside parking. All three systems can be scaled to any amount of EV parking spots. The complete designs and bill of materials (BOM) of the canopies are provided, along with basic instructions, and are released with an open-source license that will enable anyone to fabricate them. Analysis results indicate that single-span systems provide cost savings of 82–85%, double-span systems save 43–50%, and cantilevered systems save 31–40%. In the first year of operation, PV canopies can provide 157% of the energy needed to charge the least efficient EV currently on the market if it is driven the average driving distance in London, ON, Canada.

Vandewetering, N.; Hayibo, K.S.; Pearce, J.M. Open-Source Photovoltaic—Electrical Vehicle Carport Designs. Technologies 2022, 10, 114.


Other Involvement[edit | edit source]

Analysis Lead and Bridge Constructor of the Western Engineering Steel Bridge Team (WESB).

I was the analysis lead for WESB, in which I calculated critical stresses and deflections in a 21' steel bridge design using hand calculations and finite element analysis. I tutored a team of students on structural analysis and the basics of SAP 2000. The team conducted a prototype load test on two 3'6" sections, where I interpreted the stress-strain results to add accurate modified spring stiffnesses to the FEA model.

Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 2.01.35 PM.png

I represented WESB at the Canadian National Steel Bridge Competition in May 2022. I presented our design to a panel of professional engineers, and was a bridge builder in the construction competition. The team came 1st in bridge aesthetics, 2nd in oral presentation, and 4th overall.

Literature Reviews[edit | edit source]

Canadian PV Racking System Standards Literature Review

Literature Review: Plastic Composites as a Structural Material

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