Modeling Wind loading on Roof-mounted Solar Modules

Rooftop solar modules installations are growing in popularity as the benefits of implementing these features on previously unoccupied roof space are being realized. A major concern with these installations is the contribution to the roof load due to the interaction between high wind speeds and the angled modules. Similarly, there are concerns with uplift on the backside of the modules. These loads can lead to high cost of the structural support for the modules. The wind patterns that occur during the interaction of these installations in series is complex, and presents challenges when modeled both in wind tunnels and CFD. The objective of this research would be to improve the computational simulations of extreme wind loading on roof mounted solar panels for RWDI. OpenFOAM will be used for the simulations because it does not require licencing and has a proven track record. It is expected that RANS and possibly URANS turbulence models will be used during these simulations. This will be useful to RWDI as requests for rooftop wind load assessment will become more common and RWDI aims to provide accurate and reliable results from a range of testing methods.

Faculty Supervisor:

David Wood


Jesse Brydges


Rowan Williams Davies and Irwin Inc.


Engineering - mechanical


Construction and infrastructure


University of Calgary



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects