Structural Cost Optimization of Photovoltaic Central Power Station Modules and Support Structure

[+] Author and Article Information
P. D. Sutton

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91103

W. J. Stolte, R. O. Marsh

Bechtel National, Inc., San Francisco, Ca. 94119

J. Sol. Energy Eng 102(2), 150-157 (May 01, 1980) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3266133 History: Received December 11, 1978; Online November 11, 2009


The results of a comprehensive study of photovoltaic module structural support concepts for photovoltaic central power stations and their associated costs are presented. The objective of the study has been the identification of structural cost drivers. Parametric structural design and cost analyses of complete array systems consisting of modules, primary support structures, and foundations were performed. Area related module cost was found to be constant with design, size, and loading. A curved glass module concept was evaluated and found to have the potential to significantly reduce panel structural costs. Conclusions of the study are: array costs do not vary greatly among the designs evaluated; panel and array costs are strongly dependent on design loading; and the best support configuration is load dependent.

Copyright © 1980 by ASME
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