U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Solar, Install, Mount, Production, Labor, Equipment (SIMPLE BOS)
Georgia Tech Applied Research Corporation (GTARC), under the BOS-X funding opportunity, is developing residential, commercial, and utility solar photovoltaic (PV) racking and mounting systems that reduce hardware and labor costs by 50% over current industry best practices.
This project incorporates:
- A multi-disciplinary team combining researchers, industry professionals, and university design students to design and prototype multiple racking and mounting solutions that meet cost objectives
- Reengineered module design, integration, materials, assembly processes, and wire management strategies
- Subjecting designs to rigorous peer review and testing, including wind tunnel tests, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA), structural analysis, failure mode testing, cost analysis, time and motion studies, and installation/physical handling tests.
This project seeks a reduction in current racking/mounting hardware and labor costs by at least 50%, with estimated material savings ranging from 55% to more than 75% and labor savings of 50% to 90%. This will be achieved through the use of ubiquitously available manufacturing capabilities in sheet metal fabrication and concrete block forming.
Design innovations are being pursued across multiple pathways, including: reduced part count, standardization, factory assembly, wire management, reduced roof penetrations or self-ballasting, tool-less systems, integrating assembly line processes, pre-panel assembly, significant material reduction, self-squaring, prefabrication, factory assembly, structural/material efficiencies, and self-stability/ballasting.
Learn about other DOE competitive awards for systems integration research that are in progress.