IRIS - HURRICANE
Primoris Renewable Energy
First Solar Series 6
Nevados All Terrain Tracker
In August 2021, a category 3 hurricane made landfall on the state of Louisiana devastating communities and causing massive infrastructure damage. The Louisiana solar site took a direct hit and all racking equipment in the vicinity was put to the test. Having multiple racking products installed on one site provided unique insight into various racking technologies and their solutions in both designing for high wind regions, and managing high wind events.
The Nevados ATT experienced high winds for many hours with no structural damage. Wind speeds at the site were measured and analyzed showing wind gusts of over 90MPH. The racking design is inherently rigid with integrated friction dampers at every foundation. This enables unparalleled stability with zero unreliable traditional external dampers, and provides incredible resilience to wind dynamics. This same design concept is deployed regardless of wind ratings, providing class-leading wind resistance to all projects. There was no structural damage to Nevados equipment, but there was significant damage sustained to other trackers in the area which did not have the same structural rigidity and damping to combat wind dynamics.
The Nevados ATT’s standard stow position is at full tilt (60 deg.), facing towards the wind. At the time of the hurricane, full commissioning had not yet been completed; therefore, all rows did not make it to the design stow position. However, even for rows near 0 degree stow, the structure easily weathered the storm, demonstrating the potential for further cost reduction, or alternate wind stow capabilities.
Nevados actively supported the site post hurricane by conducting inspections, and developing comprehensive repair and workaround plans to replace modules that sustained damage from lightning strikes and flying debris to get the site back up and running as quickly as possible.
As one of the nation’s largest independent solar power produced (IPPs), DESRI understands the impact that severe weather can have on solar project operations. Our Nevados trackers experienced a direct hit from a Cat. 3 hurricane and performed very well; they did not sustain any structural failure and were 100% available almost immediately after the storm.
Chief Operation Officer D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI).
Wind Gusts Over 90MPH
No Structural Damage
100% Availability Following Wind Event