Wind loading is a primary contributor to structural design costs of concentrating solar-thermal power collectors, such as heliostats and parabolic troughs. These structures must resist the mechanical forces generated by turbulent wind, while the reflector surfaces must maintain optimal optical performance. Studying wind-driven loads at a full-scale, operational concentrating solar-thermal power plant provides insights into the wind impact on the solar collector field beyond the capabilities of wind tunnel tests or state-of-the-art simulations. We conducted comprehensive field measurements of the atmospheric turbulent wind conditions and the resulting structural wind loads on parabolic troughs at the Nevada Solar One plant over a two-year period. The measurement setup included meteorological masts and structural load sensors on four trough rows. Additionally, a lidar scanned the horizontal plane above the trough field. In this study, we describe the high-resolution dataset characterizing the complex flow field and resulting structural loads. This first-of-its-kind dataset will enhance the understanding of wind loading on collector structures and will help in designing the next-generation solar collectors and photovoltaic trackers.
Egerer, U., Dana, S., Jager, D., Xia, G., Stanislawski, B. J., & Yellapantula, S. (2024). Wind and structural loads data measured on parabolic trough solar collectors at an operational power plant. Scientific Data, 11(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-023-02896-4