Wind loads on solar panels mounted parallel to pitched roofs, and acting on the underlying roof

  • Leitch, C.J. (Cyclone Testing Station, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, James Cook University) ;
  • Ginger, J.D. (Cyclone Testing Station, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, James Cook University) ;
  • Holmes, J.D. (James Cook University, Townsville and JDH Consulting)
  • Received : 2014.12.05
  • Accepted : 2015.12.18
  • Published : 2016.03.25


This paper describes an investigation of the net wind loads on solar panels and wind loads on the underlying roof surface for panels mounted parallel to pitched roofs of domestic buildings. Typical solar panel array configurations were studied in a wind tunnel and the aerodynamic shape factors on the panels were put in a form appropriate for the Australian/New Zealand Wind Actions Standard AS/NZS 1170.2:2011. The results can also be used to obtain more refined design data on individual panels within an array. They also suggest values for the aerodynamic shape factors on the roof surface under the panels, based on a gust wind speed at roof height, of ${\pm}0.5$ for wind blowing parallel to the ridge, and ${\pm}0.6$ for wind blowing perpendicular to the ridge. The net loads on solar arrays in the middle portion of the roof are larger than those on the same portion of the roof without any solar panels, thus resulting in increased loads on the underlying roof structure.


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