Portable Photovoltaic Power Solar Array / Structure


Photovoltaic solar structure is a portable power generation system and habitat for use in circumstances oriented to temporary urbanism.

A portable photovoltaic power system that employs 1200 watts of solar panels. The system design was a result of an exercise to fuse habitable structure design with power generation capability. The flat roof of the structure consists of six 200 watt panels arranged in a format to result in a octagonal (near circular) structure footprint. All supporting elements are arranged along the perimeter of the structure to create a large, unobstructed, living area.

The sides of the structure are comprised of modular canvas panels. The panels can be zip-tied to the structural frame to create either a partially or fully enclosed living space. When panels are attached to the structure, the lower portion of the panels reach to the ground surface and then fold inward, to lie beneath an additional canvas flooring. This design strategy reduces the amount of wind-driven dust and debris into the enclosed area.

General Specifications

  • Free-standing shelter with 1200 watts of photovoltaic power
    PV panel dimensions: 1 7/8″ high, 65″ long, 37.5″ wide, 200 W, standard solar panel plug/socket connectors
  • Rigorously tested, nine years evolving at various outdoor venues
  • Octagonal design, yurt-like structure, but with flat roof
  • Wind loading can be controlled by changing positions of detachable canvas panels
  • Structure dimensions: 151″ wide x 153″ long x 78″ high
  • Lowest interior height: 73″ (includes sag) – using structure clogs
  • Structure can easily accommodate different PV panel dimensions: 36″- 42″ wide, 56″- 72″ long, 0.5″ – 4″ thick

Modular aluminum structure can also accommodate panels of extended dimensions, beyond the ranges specified, but compromises may be required with regards to structure effective shading, fit of canvas panels and structural integrity.

Fabric Panels

  • 7 canvas panels – can be stenciled, size: 68″ wide x 82″ long
  • 1/2″ ID grommets placed every 14″, canvas reinforced at grommets

Canvas panels’ lower ends sit on the ground and underneath structure brown canvas floor. Improves structural integrity, stabilizes and wind-swept debris is trapped at wall instead collecting into living space. Can leave panels on or off as required. Typical installation uses 5-6 panels, to allow for entry and vehicle access.

Low Voltage Lighting

  • 12vdc fixtures (color programmable or white)  – includes remotes

Tie directly to solar storage unit.

Aluminum structural elements from McMaster-Carr:

  • 8 of 72″ beam plus flange
  • 8 of 72″ beam standard
  • 8 of adjustable feet
  • 2 of 48″ span adjustment beams standard

Other Elements

  • 8 structure clogs, to stake feet of structure via 3/8” to 1/2″ diameter rebar
  • 8 of 5/16″ x 2″ eyebolt x 3/4″ ID
  • 100 feet of 100 pound test nylon or polypropylene rope
  • 16 stakes, 3/8″ dia x 16″ long with curved bend
  • 1 – 3lb sledgehammer
  • 1 – crowbar

Miscellaneous Hardware

  • 5/16″ bolts, 2″ – 3.5″long, with nuts and washers
  • Hooks included for clothes or equipment hanging
  • Vanity mirror, attaches to multiple points in structure: 15″ wide x       5″ deep x 19″ tall
  • Storage bins: 4 total, 20″ x 29″ x 16″ high
  • Two plywood flat covers (20″ x 60″ x 3/4″) to allow for seating, and/or low tables, for 1-6 people.
  • 120 inches of seating, 20″ width per person for 6 people, seating is at 16.5″ high, can employ unused canvas panels as seating covers

12VDC Accessories –

Engel Refrigerator/Freezer

Solar Energy Storage System

  • 4 of 6vdc @ 220 amp-hour, AGM Battery
  • 1 of Outback FX60 MPPT Controller/Charger
  • 1 of 24VDC to 120 VAC Sine-Wave Inverter, 2500 watts
  • 1 of 24VDC to 12 VDC DC-DC Converter, 720 watts
  • Battery fuse (100 amps – breaker)
  • 1 of Power strip – 120 VAC output at 60 Hz
  • 6 of 12 VDC car accessory outputs, each fused at 10 amps

Typical System Performance

Nominal Real-Time Output (Watts):

Months of March-September: 800 W (1200 watts derated by 33%)
24VDC at 35 amps max charge rate