5. 3 Operation, Performance and Maintenance of PV Systems
Tracking, Energy Performance, Modelling / Modeling
Summary / Abstract:
In this work, we evaluated the performance of the north-south terrain-following single-axis tracking photovoltaic systems on multiple ground undulation types. Such tracker systems are gaining interest as a viable solution to significantly reduce the costly grading operations and qualify more lands for the deployment of photovoltaic systems. However, the performance of such systems may decrease because of the resulting less optimal incidence angle of direct light, the mismatch between modules, and potential row-to-row shading. Our sensitivity study suggests that while terrainfollowing trackers can have a reasonable performance loss (or even performance gain) on a certain range of north-south slopes, their performance may drop significantly at high north-south slopes. Furthermore, high angles between adjacent torque tubes (tubes) within a tracker can increase the mismatch between the modules and consequently reduce the energy production of the system. Also, the angle between the tubes can cause additional row-to-row shading on the modules if standard tracking algorithms are used. Therefore, in designing terrain-following tracker solutions, special consideration needs to be given to undulation levels and ground slopes to avoid high performance losses.