Integrated Solar Technologies with Outdoor Pedestrian Bridge Superstructure Decking


Richard Racz

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Solar technology has been a major topic in sustainable design for many years. In the last five years, however, the solar technology industry has seen a rapid growth in installations and technological advances in cell design. Combined with a rapidly declining overall system cost, the idea of introducing solar technology into a wider range of applications is becoming a focus for engineers and scientists around the world. So many variables which alter solar energy production, such as the sun and surrounding environment, determine whether a solar design is beneficial. This thesis presents a bridge deck surface integrated with solar cells tested under all AASHTO LRFD pedestrian bridge loadings. A detailed solar analysis of the University of Massachusetts’s campus is presented to determine if solar integration is even plausible for the Northeastern United States with the energy limitations created by the deck integration, as well as an economic evaluation of the deck design. The purpose of this thesis was to determine if a walking surface could be integrated with solar technology and be a plausible alternative to conventional walking surfaces, while providing a source of sustainable power.

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