Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Newsletter: Solar and Wind Issue | Volume 6, 2017
Welcome to the latest issue of Exponent's Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences Newsletter. Our experience gives us an in-depth understanding of the complexity of the technology sector, and this newsletter is a repository for that insight.  This special issue on Solar and Wind features articles across multiple practices at Exponent.

Your opinions are important to us. Please consider sharing feedback on the current issue.


  • The Solar Flare: Managing Risk in the Face of Industry Growth
    A recent Nature Communications article reported 45% compound annual growth in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems between 1975 and 2015, with the cumulative installed PV capacity increasing from about 1 MWp to around 180 GWp over the same time. These findings are reassuring for industry stakeholders, reinforcing a narrative of strong, continuous market expansion, but these findings also suggest that solar power will continue to face unique risks and challenges resulting from ongoing rapid growth.
  • Wind Turbine Reliability
    During the last twenty years, global wind power capacity has grown at a rapid pace, with an estimated cumulative global capacity of approximately 433 gigawatts in 2015. Wind power supplied more new power generation globally than any other technology in 2015 and accounted for almost half of global electricity growth in that year. The cost of wind power can be reduced by improving wind turbine reliability. This article will review recent research in this area and will present best practices for improving wind turbine reliability.
  • Ecological Effects of Offshore Wind Development
    Offshore wind farms (OSWF) are common in Europe, particularly in Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which comprise 22 of the world’s 25 largest OSWF, primarily in the Baltic and North Seas. Conversely, offshore wind power is at an early implementation stage in the United States. In this article, we present a brief overview of the major ecological impacts attributed to OSWF and discuss some of the challenges associated with evaluation of effects to a maritime environment.
  • Lightning Protection for Wind Turbines
    Over the past few decades, the number of wind farms has grown dramatically, beginning with the first large (utility-scale) wind farm installed in California in 1980. Lightning plays a lead role in the failures and outages at wind farms. In 2012, lightning accounted for 23.4% of wind turbine failures.[ ] Therefore, it is critical that the design and installation of a lightning protection system (LPS) for the wind turbine be done correctly.
  • Fire Mitigation Solutions for Photovoltaic (PV) Systems on Building Roofs
    Exponent has completed the first phase of a multi-phase research project for the Fire Protection Research Foundation The project goal was to develop fire mitigation solutions for large commercial roofs with solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays. The first phase of the project involved the development of a fire test plan to evaluate potential fire mitigation solutions for PV systems on commercial building roofs. The fire testing will be carried out in the second phase of the project in the fall of 2017.
  • Photovoltaic Materials: State of the Art
    The 20th century saw photovoltaic materials make the leap from lab-based curiosity to commercial production in solar cells. The fundamental concept shared by all photovoltaics is the ability to convert light into electrical energy. Beyond that, there are many different types of materials competing for market share in the solar industry, each with their own advantages. This article will review the current state-of-the-art of photovoltaic material technologies.

For more information and/or to contact us for questions, please email Shukri Souri.