|Array Structure||Tracker: Dual Axis|
eco-Kinetics monocrystalline silicon array, large-scale dual axis tracking.
This large scale tracker maximises the solar exposure of its 26.5 kW photovoltaic array.
The tracker orients towards the sun, moving from east to west through the day and tilting with the height of the sun’s path through the year. Its movement is controlled by a remote computer.
The array sail is 27m wide and 8.8m high, and its comparatively low height (6m at its steepest tilt) allows these trackers to be installed close together without shading each other. The tracking frame also dissipates heat through vented structural arms and its stepped shape.
In Central Australia, the tracker is expected to add 25% to the array’s annual output. This technology will generally be installed in a utility-scale power plant, where monitoring and maintenance can be carried out more economically on a large number of trackers.
ADES is supplied in Australia by eco-Kinetics. eco-Kinetics provides renewable energy solutions in Australia and New Zealand. Their services include photovoltaics, wind energy systems, solar air conditioning, solar thermal and engineering consulting services.
|Number Of Panels||156|
|Panel Type||eco-Kinetics ECOKES 170M|
|Array Area||199.16 m²|
|Type Of Tracker||ADES 5F-27M, dual axis|
|Inverter Size / Type||3 x 9 kW, SMA SMC 9000TL-10|
|Installation Completed||Mon, 23 Aug 2010|
|Array Tilt/Azimuth||Fixed. Tilt = 20' Azimuth = 0'|
Notes on the Data
Site 2: Module Replacement and Troubleshooting
The large tracking array (site 2) was disconnected between 7.30am and 4.30pm for the replacement of a broken PV module with an equivalent ECSOLAR mono-Si ECS-170D model (connected to inverter 1), as well as general cable tidying and string and inverter troubleshooting. Fuses were rewired and the strings checked with a no fault determination, but inverters 2 and 3 remain non-operational. Note this array is currently non-tracking and fixed facing upwards.
System Disconnection for Cabling Works
All arrays at the Solar Centre were disconnected from approximately 2.00pm to 3.00pm on Monday, 9 July 2018 in preparation for the cable between the main switchboard and distribution board being upgraded. Array sites #23-38 remained disconnected while the main feeder cable to these sites was replaced in subsequent days, but all systems were re-connected by early afternoon on Thursday, 12 July 2018.
Monitoring Interruption for UPS Battery Replacement
The disconnection and re-connection of the solar arrays and weather station equipment while a new site connection was being established prompted the already flattening UPS batteries which power the site’s energy meters to fail and require immediate replacement. Data recording was affected from approximately 2.30pm ACST, Monday 10 July to 4.00pm, Wednesday 12 July.
Affects weather data for DKASC, Alice Springs
Site 2: Damaged PV Module
One PV module on this PV array was damaged in a wind storm. This glass front surface has been shattered by what appears to be an impact on the back of module from the frame/structure of the tracker itself. In recent months it has been noted that the performance of this array has fallen and the cause is identified as the partial failure of one array string on which this damaged module is connected. The PV module supplier Eco-Kinetics is no longer in operation and sourcing of a replacement PV module has not been possible to date.
Site 2: ADES Tracker Fault
September 2012: The large scale ADES is not able to effective track the sun and was often found out of alignment. This issue could not be rectified due to the lack of technical support from the suppliers (ADES and Eco Kinetics). The decision was made to disable the tracker and leave the array in a fixed position at Tilt = 20 degrees and Azimuth = 0 degrees, solar north.
Site 2: ADES Tracker Fault
On 22nd March 2012 in was noted that the large scale ADES tracker was not not tracking on the east west axis but was fixed in north north east direction. The tracking motor was removed and sent away for repair/replacement. The cause of failure was determined to be a pourous clamp housing in the east west tracking motor assembly. This pourous housing was due to manufacturing defect and a new housing was machined and replaced under warranty by original system installers. The system was operating again on 30th May 2012.
> Answer to Spotlight Question
Onsite at the DKA Solar Centre in Alice Springs are a series of quiz-like Spotlight Questions at each array. Visit the centre and scan the QR code at each sign to test your knowledge – and check your answer here!
Q: Does the improved energy yield of this tracking system make its cost and complexity worthwhile?
A: Tracking systems can improve the energy yield of an array by 10-35% depending on the nature of the setup and other conditions. In some cases, such as many utility-scale solar plants where a significant amount of energy can be produced, tracking systems are economically worthwhile, but trackers can also be unreliable if not well designed or maintained. Trackers can also require more land area as rows or arrays must be spaced to avoid adjacent modules from casting shadows on each other. Project developers need to consider all these factors and calculate the paybacks on their PV systems to determine whether – and if so, which – tracking arrangements are a justified investment.