Reliability and reduced O&M costs are key metrics when choosing among solar tracking systems. At SPI, TÜV Rheinland reveals an in-depth study of Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 that indicates the DuraTrack is “300 × less likely to experience catastrophic failure during wind events than single-row competitors that rely on stow.”
Array Technologies is the main supplier of centralized drive trackers in the industry, which the company maintains allows for a robust design and a unique wind mitigation strategy that avoids module stress, fatigue failure and torsional galloping issues during high stress wind events.
TÜV analysts performed an economic and risk analysis of two tracker architectures: one layout driven by a single motor linked by a rotating driveline to multiple tracker rows; and a competing design where tracker rows operate as self-contained units, each with a dedicated photovoltaic (PV) panel, battery, motor and other system components. TÜV’s analysis includes descriptions of the technical characteristics of each system, followed by a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) to assess risk associated with component failures, and concluding with a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) / Net Present Value (NPV) analysis to assess the economic impact of the two technologies on developers, owners, financiers, and insurers of utility scale solar power plants.
The TÜV report also highlighted the below benefits of Array’s tracking technology:
• 7% lower LCOE (Levelized Cost Of Energy)
• 4.5% higher NPV (Net Present Value)
• 15% lower scheduled O&M cost
• 130 × lower unscheduled O&M cost
“At TÜV Rheinland, we pride ourselves on unbiased and high-quality research and reporting,” said Mark Skidmore, Regional Field Manager, Solar-North America of TÜV Rheinland. “We routinely put technologies across the solar tracker industry through rigourous testing to challenge the industry’s biggest players to go above and beyond with the reliability of their designs. Together, we can sustainably grow the global solar tracking market.”
— Solar Builder magazine