Corab reduces aerodynamic loads on PV farms thanks to custom software.
Customer profile: CORAB - the leader in the Renewable Energy Sources industry, designs and constructs photovoltaic farms delivering their photovoltaic systems worldwide.
We started working with Corab long before the applications were developed. We started with aerodynamic and strength simulations of individual structures per PV panel. We also ran experimental projects (using wind tunnels) to verify our simulation approach. As a result, the client built confidence in us.
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Project challenge and Customer’s expectations:
- Photovoltaic farms experience large aerodynamic loads. ISO norms vastly overestimate them. CFD analysis of each farm is too costly. We have run hundreds of aerodynamic simulations a priori and created an accurate prediction model that Corab makes available to its partners, making their farms safe and optimized.
- One of the main factors influencing the price of building a PV farm is the depth of piling for the PV module tables. The piles should be driven deep enough to eliminate the risk of the structure detaching from the ground or settling.
The client has so far used standards to calculate aerodynamic loads and ground reactions. From our initial analysis, we found that:
The standard for calculating aerodynamic loads significantly overestimates the results relative to experiments (including wind tunnel tests),
The standard for calculating ground reaction significantly underestimates the friction forces relative to the data obtained from experiment.
- Compounding these facts translated into the client significantly oversizing the structure, which translated into increased costs associated with the material and installation of the farm. This in turn translated into low competitiveness of the client's bids.
Solution we provided:
To start working with the application, the user first loads the DXF design of the photovoltaic farm. The application extracts crucial information from the design, including the plot outline, table positions, elevation map of the plot, and the borehole locations where geotechnical sections will be defined.
Once loaded, the plot and photovoltaic panel tables are displayed in a graphical window. The user can then define all the technical parameters:
- The type of beam structure used and its parameters.
- The soil layers in the geotechnical section and their parameters.
- Aerodynamic conditions, such as average wind speed and terrain category.
To mitigate the risk of incorrect simulation definitions, all user-entered data is continuously validated.
Once all the necessary information has been input, the user can initiate the simulation.
The simulation model consists of several modules:
- Aerodynamic module: It utilizes reduced models (ROM) developed based on several hundred CFD simulations of photovoltaic farms. This approach has enabled us to significantly reduce simulation time from hours to just seconds, all while maintaining a high level of accuracy.
- Structural strength module. It predicts the stresses in the PV panel table structure and allows us to integrate the aerodynamic module with the ground module.
- Ground module. This module, based on the structural strength calculations and the predictions of the aerodynamic module, checks that the structure is not settling or being torn out.
Optimization module: This module combines all the previously mentioned modules into a coherent whole. Its primary function is to determine the optimal leg length, ensuring the shortest legs while preventing structure settling or detachment.
After the simulation is completed, the user can view the results in an interactive graphical window, generate a PDF report, and export the results in DXF format.
Reduction in materials usage.
Cost reduction in photovoltaic farm construction, increasing its appeal to customers.
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