Analyzing Risk and Economic Impact of Two Solar Tracker Architectures

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Discussion participants

Dr. Mark Preston, Vice President of Engineering at Array Technologies, Inc.
John Williamson, Executive Chief Engineer at Array Technologies, Inc.


Christian Roselund, pv magazine, Editor

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Presentation of Array

Webinar Details

TÜV Rheinland PTL (TÜV), an independent analyst, recently released a report on the economic and risk analysis of two solar tracker architectures. The first architecture in the study is a centralized system driven by a single motor, linked by a rotating driveline to multiple tracker rows. The second architecture is a decentralized system where each row operates as a self-contained unit with a dedicated photovoltaic (PV) panel, battery, motor, and other tracker system components.

This webinar will give a high-level overview of TÜV’s report, including descriptions of the technical characteristics of each tracker system, followed by a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA). We will also discuss TÜV’s methodology to assess risk associated with component failures, and conclude with a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) / Net Present Value (NPV) analysis, highlighting the economic impact of the two technologies on developers, owners, financiers, and insurers of utility scale solar power plants.

Key highlights of the report include the following benefits of the centralized tracker architecture over the decentralized tracker architecture:

  • 6.7% Lower Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE)
  • 15.7% Lower Fixed Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Costs
  • 4 Cents/Watt DC Higher Net Present Value (NPV)
  • Unscheduled Maintenance Events 1/Year Versus 2/Day

Dr. Mark Preston
Vice President of Engineering at Array Technologies, Inc.

Mark Preston leads new product development and works with the team of engineers to refine and optimize current mechanical systems, components, and software products. He has enjoyed a 30+ year career developing technology and products around power electronics and electro-mechanical systems. Mark has served in executive roles at GE, Northern Power Systems, Glacier Bay, MegaWatt Solar, Vestas, and Innovus Power. Mark is the author of more than 10 publications and he has been granted 18 patents. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and a DPhil in electrical, electronic, and control engineering from the University of Sussex (England).

John Williamson
Executive Chief Engineer at Array Technologies, Inc.

John Williamson is the executive chief engineer for Array Technologies, Inc., where he leads a team of engineers of various disciplines as they optimize mechanical systems, components, and software for Array products. In his years at Array, he has been an integral part of the success and expansion of the company and its core product lines. John is a registered professional engineer and holds an MS in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico.