More Solar Power Plants Increasing ROI Through Single-Axis Tracking Systems

May 22, 2017- Kinematics attended the 9th Annual International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference and Exhibition (SNEC 2015) in Shanghai last month and impressed many customers with the solar tracker reliability that comes with the use of slewing drives. The conference also initiated conversations about the solar power industry and where it may be going in the near future.

Projections in recent years have suggested Americans will continue to increase development and efficiency of solar power systems through the use of trackers that move on an axis. By 2019, the American solar tracking market will be the biggest it has been, making up about 36 percent of the global market, because of these new, more productive innovations.

Currently, the most commonly used trackers around the world are fixed, angled systems, but several American companies, such as SunPower, First Solar, SunEdison and other engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies, are using single-axis, rotating solar tracking systems instead. Evidence suggests these systems that follow the sun seem to be more efficient and get greater return on investment than fixed-tilt trackers.

In China and India, the preferred solar power system has been fixed-angle trackers because of the vast number of steel frame suppliers and low labor cost. However, single-axis tracking systems are gaining popularity quickly and starting to take more of a share of the solar power market. In fact, existing EPC companies in these regions are expected to develop new products based on the technology used in the tracking systems designed to follow the sun.

By moving in this direction on a global scale, sun-tracking systems should have explosive growth in the coming years.

To reduce cost in the Asia market in the immediate future, the efforts receiving much of the focus include finding ways to lower the cost of silicon material, high-efficiency cells, modules, inverters and steel frames. As far as efficiency goes, it is also critical to explore innovative methods that improve the generating capacity of solar tracking systems through smart operation and stronger monitoring.