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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Spirally Stowed Architecture for Large Photovoltaic Arrays

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Spirally Stowed Architecture for Large Photovoltaic Arrays
Proposed is the development and validation in a laboratory environment of a photovoltaic (PV) array design of unique and enabling characteristics. Namely, smoothly deployed from compact stowage with one single, continuous sweep of motion, a total PV surface area up to and beyond 4000~m2 (the area associated with 1~MW power) is provided by two wings, with mechanical performance objectives also met. The PV cells are mounted on flexible strups that, assembled, constitute array disk pie segments between straight ribs and smoothly wrap between the latter on the central hub for stowage. The surface shears in stowage effected by this kinematics are absorbed by shear compliant hinge strips between the strips, and the PV cells are mounted on the latter ro precisely align in the roll. Deployed, the surface segments between the ribs are pretensioned with catenaries on the outer perimeter, supported by the rib tips which extend outward. A full mechanical design is developed to complete concept validation for a pair of wings 2000 m2 each, fabrication and operational issues are explored and addressed, and a working prototype wing is built to complete concept validation. More »

Anticipated Benefits

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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