Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor's Name

Ioannis Zisis

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Arindam Gan Chowdhury

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Peter Irwin

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Irtishad Ahmad

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

David Garber

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Wind engineering, Solar panels, Wall of Wind, Vibration analysis

Date of Defense



Solar energy harvesting using photovoltaic (PV) systems has gained popularity in recent years due to its relative ease of use and its cost efficiency compared to the rest of the clean energy sources. However, to further expand the application of PV systems requires making them more desirable than the other competitive energy sources. The improvement of safety and cost efficiency are requisites for further popularization of PV system application. To satisfy these requisites it is necessary to optimally design the system against the environmental conditions. Wind action is one of the main ambient loads affecting the performance of PV systems. This dissertation aims to investigate the effects of wind load on residential scale roof mounted PV panels and their supporting structures as well as evaluating the structural response of the system to the wind-induced vibration. To achieve these goals, several full- and large-scale experimental tests were performed at the Wall of Wind Experimental Facility at Florida International University (FIU). The wind effects on different PV system and roof configurations were investigated in these tests. The results shed light on the most influential parameters affecting the wind pressures acting on the PV panel surface. In addition, the findings are presented in the form of design pressure coefficients for adoption to future building codes and wind standards. The second phase of the physical testing included the investigation of the actual response of the PV system to the wind action. Because of the dynamic properties of the PV panel, it was expected that the wind induced vibration can affect the dynamic response of the system including the acceleration at the panel surface and support reactions at the racking system to roof interface. To test this theory, two different models of the system were developed, one with the real PV panels and the other one with wooden rigid panels. Comparing the results, it was concluded that the dynamic response of the system was not considerably affected by wind-induced fluctuations. Finally, and to better understand the dynamic response of the system, an analytical model was developed using ANSYS and dynamic analysis was carried out using as input the wind induced pressure data acquired from the physical testing. At the first step, the analytical model was verified by comparing the analytical modal frequencies to the experimental natural frequencies obtained from the hammer test. It was shown that the analytical model can well represent the dynamic properties of the actual model. However, once the reaction output was compared to the loadcell data recorded during the wind tunnel test, there was a considerable discrepancy between the results. It was assumed that the deflection of the supporting structure caused this discrepancy. This assumption was verified and it was concluded that the supporting structure can significantly influence the dynamic response of the system.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).