Tag Archive for: racking systems

This study discusses the development of a wood-based PV vertical racking design, created to help overcome cost barriers present with commercially available vertical racks. This design is constructed with domestic renewable and sustainable materials, buildable by the average farmer, has a 25-year lifetime that aligns with most PV warranties, and follows Canadian building codes to weather high wind speeds and heavy snow loads.

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.

Fixed-tilt mechanical racking, consisting of proprietary aluminum extrusions, can dominate the capital costs of small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Recent design research has shown that wood-racking can decrease the capital costs of small systems by more than 75% in North America. 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. Both fixed and variable wooden racking systems show similar LCOE, which is only 29% of the LCOE of commercial metal racking.