It was a record year for global shipments of single-axis solar photovoltaic (PV) trackers in 2018, as they increased by more than 40%, surpassing 20 GW globally for the first time, writes IHS Markit senior analyst Camron Barati. While the United States continued to be the largest individual market for single-axis trackers last year, shipments also increased in Mexico, Australia, Egypt, Spain, and other large utility-scale markets.
New analysis predicts more than 150 GW of tracker capacity will be installed in the next five years – around a third of all ground mount projects up to 2024. Rapid growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and the better cost structures possible from combining trackers and bifacial modules are singled out as key trends.
Bifacial modules represent a growing proportion of leading manufacturers output each year, but the technology still poses questions for installations in the field. Using both sides of a module to generate power changes parameters across whole the PV system, and necessitates innovation from the manufacturers of trackers and system components. The potential for higher energy output is clear, but new standards and practices are needed to ensure systems get the most out of bifacial modules. At its Bifacial Tracker Evaluation Center (BiTEC) in Livermore, California, Soltec is working to ensure that opportunities provided by this technology are well and truly seized.
The global market for solar trackers expanded by 20% in 2018, with total international shipments spiking 36% year-on-year to surpass the 20 GW mark, according to a new report by Wood Mackenzie. NEXTracker and Array Technologies maintained their industry dominance, but a number of smaller competitors claimed a greater share of the global market in the 12 months to the end of December than ever before.
Things are hotting up in the tracker world as the desire to squeeze down the price per Watt of solar power intensifies. And the rise of the trackers is attracting some well-known businesses to buy their way into the field.
Spain’s most important renewable energy fair is becoming increasingly about solar. After a decade of slim pickings, last year’s event promised better times and, if this year’s show didn’t completely deliver, that’s because elections loom large.
That was the one of the main conclusions reached among 400 attendees at the Solar plants in Spain: development, financing and energy future conference, organized by Soltec and PV association UNEF in Madrid this week.
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