With billions of dollars invested and gigawatts of solar installed every month, savvy investors and owners understand that to maximize financial returns and optimize solar power plant performance, a well-thought-out plan for a complete operations and maintenance (O&M) program must be baked into the economics of any project before the first boots hit the ground.
As one of the most important components in any ground-mount PV array, solar racking and tracking systems play a key role in any O&M considerations. Single-axis trackers (SATs) have become increasingly popular because of the higher energy yield they produce compared to fixed-tilt systems, yet many developers are still gun-shy about procuring SATs for their projects because of the presumed costs of maintaining such systems.
This paper discusses and analyzes the factors to consider when evaluating tracker technologies from an O&M perspective. It will answer six frequently asked questions about SAT O&M, including:
A case study comparing the durability and ruggedness of different types of SATs during flooding and other extreme weather events will also be presented.