Wind design practice and recommendations for solar arrays on low-slope roofs

J. Maffei, K. Telleen, R. Ward, G.A. Kopp, A. Schellenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, ASCE standards do not provide specific guidance on wind loads for solar arrays of photovoltaic panels, in terms of either prescriptive design or requirements for wind tunnel testing. Guidance is needed, particularly for arrays of low-profile tilted panels on flat or low-slope roofs, because they are markedly different aerodynamically from structures currently addressed in the building code. This paper presents recommendations for the structural design of these solar arrays for wind-loading. Recommendations include (1) categorizing solar array support-systems according to their height above the building roof and how they distribute forces to the roof, (2) developing pressure coefficients that are applicable to structurally interconnected roof-bearing support systems, (3) considering load cases that include uniform wind pressure on the array and nonuniform (gust) patterns, (4) determining appropriate stiffness and boundary conditions for structural analysis, and (5) use of testing to verify behavior and calibrate analytical models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04013040
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Solar array
  • Solar panel
  • Wind
  • Wind Tunnel
  • Wind design
  • Building code
  • ASCE 7
  • Wind Effects


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