Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 8 - Working on Solar Rack Hoisting System

This week I focused on hoisting up the racking system. I found a crane on Grabcad. I also had to scale down the solar racking system to make it match the model I grabbed off of Grabcad. Work is still required for a structure or hook for hoisting the solar panel rack. I wanted to eventually add the animation and show give a good idea of how it would look being hoisted up. Eventually, more testing could be done to analyze whether it would fail or not.

Finally, for this last portion of week eight we finalized our report and turned in our CAD files.  

Friday, July 14, 2017

Week 7 - Working on side mounts for solar panel and top mount

This week I worked on creating a structure that would hold the side panels using a frame bracket design connected to the main truss and beam as shown in Figure 1. below.
Figure 1. The whole structure using sheet metal.

I worked specifically on the side panels to hold the vertical panels in place by adding a frame like structure connected to the main truss beams and the center beam as shown in Figure 2. below.

Figure 2. Side panel rack system.  

I also added a beam to the center of the racking system that would keep the panels from falling right through in Figure 3. below. 
Figure 3. Top panels mounted. 

The back of the system still has some problems, it may move side to side in times of high wind. Another cross beam may need to be added. 

Figure 4. The back of the panel brackets still needs work. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Week 6 - Designing Solar Panel Mounts, side, roof

This week I worked on designing a solar panel mount for the side panels and the top panels. I thought about a thin sheet metal design but having access to the solar panels is also important. I finally decided to go with a sheet metal design that would allow for the panels to mount at each end as seen in the image here:
Figure 1. Mounts for solar panels (In Progress). 

The beam at right edge in Figure 1 will hold the side panels and the top panels in place. More documents for this week can be found here: Click here. My intent was to clamp on the panels once they set they're set inside the frame.

Figure 2. Sheet Metal Truss and side mount back.

Figure 3. Side of the structure with panel front showing. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

Week 5 - Solid Truss design, calculations for 2000 m track with PVsyst, PVsol and SAM.

This week I contributed to the team by calculating the production of a solar system. The system was from SJSU main campus to the SJSU stadium. It was 2000m long and had 4 panels per roughly one meter. I first did an initial calculation on the website PVWatts here: PVWatts and the results are here: Click Here. The hand calculation for came out to about 10,960 kwh/day. This was close my other teammate's calculations and we decided the differences were purely based on design inputs. I also did these same calculations with SAM software and got around 8000 kwh/day that the system produces. There were some issues I found that the commercial software's PVsyst and PVsol produced far less as shown here in Mwh/yr: Click Here. I could not figure out if this is due to the commercial software being more accurate or if there was something missing in my inputs. More research needs to be done in this area to be sure of the calculations and the accuracy they give. In this case, the system is so huge, any small detail can cause it to shift significantly. In addition, I also designed a truss structure for our system that solid and able to withstand more weight in the files here: Click Here.

Figure 1. Solid Truss Structure Design.

Figure 2. Hand calc's PVWatts.

Figure 3. SAM results. 

Figure 4. PVsol results. 

Figure 5. PVsyst results. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Week 4 - Bracket, Clamp Design

This week I designed a clamp in SolidWorks for the support structure for The Futran System in South Africa and a bracket as seen here: Click Here I wanted to reduce cost and allow for them to be easily moveable if desired. A simple solar panel structure was also added to be able to set the brackets in place. These designs will be modified depending on the new structure. In addition, I spent some more time on sizing systems in SAM, PVsyst, and PVsol. However, without any real inputs from the pod system of Futran Inc. in South Africa. More will be done in the next couple of weeks. An Engineer from Futran came from South Africa to give us guidance on further designing the structure to meet engineering standards. They currently do not have a Solar System design, this is where we come in to help.

Figure 1. First design clamp.

Figure 2. Second design bracket. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Week 3 - Research Solar, Mount Design

This week I worked on learning the solar analysis software and what inputs must be determined to size a system. Previous bills with kWh or yield can be used as well as kW used per year. There are multiple ways of doing the analysis. Another way to choose how many solar panels are needed is the area desired for use. I also worked on building a solar panel structure that sits on top of the rails as shown here: Click here There is a bracket that holds it together with the top of the track structure. I chose the shape as shown here:, with the brackets on the side that tighten and loosen, which allow for movement of the panel if required. More work is still needed to finish this system.

Figure1. Track clamp design iteration.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week 2 - PVsyst, PVsol, SAM Calculations

This week I contributed to the team by calculating for a system of 12.4 kW that moved 4.8 min on the Spartan Superway track. This was done using Pycharm with this python file Here: Click here The calculations for PVsyst, PVsol and SAM are all found in the link above as well. There are image files and files to run the software. Trial versions for PVsyst and PVsol are used so beware, they might not operate like the purchased software.

The figures for the different results are shown below as well:

Figure 1. PVsol results.

Figure 2. SAM results.

Figure 3. PVsyst results.