Understanding Limitations Towards the Levelized Costs of Trackers
The adoption of Single-Axis Trackers over traditional Fixed Tilt systems has increased as trackers become more reliable and cost effective to implement, but the overarching question still remains: are there times when trackers do not make long-term financial sense? Well known tracker limitations include topography, unusual site boundaries, and manufacturer specified tracker limits. Are there overlooked costs and impediments? There may be several additional factors that impact costs but this research will try to identify factors with the most significant impact. Obstacles to be examined for overarching trends and patterns include on-site shading, GHI, and impact of tariffs or TOU rates. Although trackers generate more kWh over time than fixed tilt systems, the tariff or TOU rates at which we receive compensation throughout the day may have a significant influence.
As a financer and long-term owner of PV systems, Standard Solar delves into examining the levelized costs of owning a Single Axis Tracker system, in areas across the United States. Also evaluating situations and trends that can significantly increase cost and render the increased production gain from trackers as negligible. This research hopes to inform SPI attendees of the holistic, long-term viability of trackers across the United States. And, by comparing levelized costs, to provide a general baseline of conditions for when the sensibility of implementing a tracker needs to be looked at more closely. The outcome of this research is beneficial to all fields related to solar. This information can help salespersons, system designers, and even customers interested in owning a system, by drawing a clearer baseline for financially positive tracker implementation, saving time, money and effort.