|Array Structure||Tracker: Single Axis|
Polycrystalline silicon array, single axis trackers.
Single axis trackers adjust the east-west orientation of an array, to increase its solar exposure through the day.
Solar panels are best able to generate electricity from light hitting their surface at a right angle. Adjusting their surface to follow the path of the sun will increase their electricity production.
These trackers are an “active” system, driven by motors according to a pre-programmed schedule. They follow the sun in 6 steps of 15 º before parking in a horizontal position at night and returning to face the east after sunset.
Using a program to angle the trackers will not necessarily always find the direction with the greatest amount of light like light sensitive trackers – however its single line of motion causes less wear on the motor. The tracker is powered from the array’s DC output.
|Number Of Panels||5 x 8|
|Panel Type||Kyocera KD135GX-LP|
|Array Area||5 x 8.02 m²|
|Type Of Tracker||BW Solar F2 5 Star Tracker|
|Inverter Size / Type||5kW, SMA SMC 5000A|
|Installation Completed||Tue, 30 Sep 2008|
Notes on the Data
Some system issues.
The following sites have on going power issues due to a range of factors:
- Site 1B 2 x Failed PV inverters and dysfunctional trackers
- Site 2 2 x Failed PV inverters and dysfunctional tracker
- Site 5 AC cable fault
- Site 22 1 x failed tracker
- Site 33 1 x Failed PV inverter
Remediation work is underway and each array will be returned to full operation as soon as possible.
Site 5: Tracker Control Board Checking and Replacement
The tracker electronics and batteries were inspected between around 10am and 11am on Tuesday, 5 February. Of the five individual tracking arrays, a control board PCB was replaced on one and a battery identified as dysfunctional on another. The battery was removed on the latter, awaiting replacement. All four other arrays resumed normal operation. On Friday, 8 February in the late afternoon, the required new battery for the eastern-most tracker previously pending completion was installed.
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
Sites 5 and 6: Faulty Tracking Units
At both sites 5 and 6 the single and dual axis tracking units have for several years been experiencing intermittent outages and component failures. These tracking units are no longer directly supported by any suppliers in Australia and replacement parts (control boards, actuator arms, etc.) have become difficult to source and thus several of the trackers at both sites are have failed or only operate intermittently. Continuing efforts are being made to repair these units but please note that the PV output of these two sites is negatively impacted by these technical issues.
System Outage - Sites 4, 5, 17, 20, 22, 34 and 35
On the 5th June 2015, A Friday before a long weekend, seven individual PV systems at the DKASC were switched off by unknown persons and for unknown reasons. The outage was not noted until the following Tuesday when O&M staff returned to work and found the main circuit breakers for sites 4, 5, 17, 20, 22, 34 & 35. turned off. These systems were all turned back on again on the 9th March when the problem was detected.
Site 5: Tracker Fault
It was identified on 17/02/2012 that two of the Kyocera Solar Solar Forest 1-axis trackers were not tracking/moving. One tracker required replacement of main actuator arm the other tracker required new battery for controller. Both systems operational again by 30/04/2012
> 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: Trackers like these require power to operate, so where do they get their energy from?
A: Trackers can be powered by the electricity generated by the solar arrays and/or a battery which may act as a backup. The amount of energy they consume is often very small compared to the efficiency improvements from optimising the solar exposure, although this may depend on the climate conditions and configuration of the array and tracking system.