Performance Assessment of Steel Posts Supporting Solar Energy Infrastructure Facilities: Novel Approach for Underground Corrosion

Mounir El Asmar, Sumanth V. Lokanath, Lucien El Asmar, Ferdinand Abella, Abbas Chokor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Solar energy is expected to provide between 15% and 30% of US electricity by 2050. Photovoltaic solar plant infrastructure includes the photovoltaic modules, structure, and balance of components. Decisions regarding the future integrity of a solar plant depend in part on an accurate assessment of the site environment and conditions affecting its corrosion and hence its rate of degradation. This paper presents a framework that improves the performance evaluation of corrosion rates and estimated service lives of steel posts supporting tracker and fixed-tilt solar energy infrastructure systems. The authors developed new statistical models and integrated them with current existing models to identify individualized optimal corrosion-assessment approaches for constructed posts, and assess their performance, depending on each plant's unique site environment. Applying the new and existing underground corrosion models to data from 62 solar infrastructure sites demonstrated the superiority of the newly developed approach in predicting steel structures' underground corrosion rates in highly corrosive environments. The findings of this paper will inform and support decision makers in infrastructure facility design, maintenance, and reliability applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04020023
JournalJournal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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