Wind Performance Results for Earth Mount Solar® PV


Hurricane-prone regions in the United States are currently underserved by the utility-scale solar market. This is due in large part to concerns that single-axis tracker systems cannot reliably survive the wind speeds generated by Category 4 and 5 hurricanes. These concerns are justified. Although some tracker plants have survived low-end Category 4 storms with little to no damage, others have experienced damage from wind speeds lower than 60 miles per hour, due to instabilities such as torsional galloping. Not only are tracker plants elevated above the earth and therefore more exposed to the wind, they also have numerous parts, each of which represents a potential point of failure. Few tracker systems to date have achieved a maximum wind rating on par with the wind speeds generated by Category 4, and none have met Category 5 speeds, making these systems a risky choice for anyone pursuing a solar plant project in a hurricane or other high-wind zone.

There is an alternative option for building solar plants that are not only robust against torsional galloping, but that can be installed in hurricane-prone and other high-wind regions. Developed by Erthos, Earth Mount Solar® PV forgoes foundations, tracking mechanisms, and mounting structures completely, opting instead to install its modules directly on the ground. This approach reduces wind force on the system and eliminates many of the potential points of failure seen in tracker arrays, leading to drastically increased stability and a much higher maximum wind rating.

To test this claim, CPP Wind Engineers developed a scale model of a standard 2MWac Earth Mount Solar system, then subjected it to a series of wind tunnel tests. The Earth Mount Solar model performed exceedingly well, exhibiting no observable movement even at the wind tunnel’s maximum speed of 215 miles per hour.

In this paper, we take a closer look at these results and their implications.

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About Erthos

Founded in 2019 and located in Tempe, Arizona, Erthos offers a full suite of products and services aimed at helping developers dramatically reduce the levelized cost of energy or “LCOE” on utility-scale solar power plants. Its executives and management hail from companies including Tesla, Intel, General Electric, SunPower Corporation, First Solar, Depcom Power, Sterling & Wilson, SMA, Solar Frontier, and Plug Power. The team has extensive experience with new product introductions and global markets, including the US, Latin America, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Asia, and the Pacific. Find out more about Erthos at