More Production from Trackers

October 15, 2014

This article originally appeared in SolareB2B, page 34.

Abbreviated English Translation:

In 2013 Alectris intervened on 7 MW of plants demonstrating serious problems of productivity two months after commissioning, with losses of 25% in terms of performance.

Emanuele Tacchino, Alectris O&M PV Business Development Manager said “We attacked the heart of the plants inefficiency after a detailed careful and extended assessment of all the plants individual components and of the system operations.”

The operation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems, with biaxial trackers turns out to be more complicated than that required for conventional fixed photovoltaic installations. Suffice it to say that the pursuers, in the life cycle of the plant, can often be subject to adverse weather conditions, with consequences for mobile structures of trackers. Without careful design-time care and without installing a proper system of control and monitoring of both the field of each individual, the trackers can run more risks in terms of wear and performance up to continuous system stops and economic damage.

Alectris biaxial tracker case study photoResults of Underperformance
The plants were producing well below the Base Case Scenarios leading to cash flow issues with overall financial performance of the investment below the budgeted values, up to 25% below base case scenario, leading to an average yearly loss of revenues of 150.000 euro per MW. In addition, huge costs were incurred in order to preserve even the suboptimal operational status of the plants.

The Outcome – Dramatic Increase of the Solar Portfolio’s Profitability
The new configuration resolved the underperformance and safety issues. The first month of operation showed additionally generated revenue of 15% if compared to the same prior year, resulting in a payback period of the new tracking system installation of few months. Moreover, thanks to the close monitoring reached via ACTIS no manual intervention is required and reliable predictive maintenance can be achieved. Additionally, extra yield can easily reach 33% thanks to further optimization of the backtracking capabilities of the installed firmware.

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