TÜV Rheinland: Centralized tracker architecture can reduce LCOE

Array Technologies presented the results of a new study into tracker architectures, carried out by TÜV Rheinland this week at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi.

The results of the independent study commissioned by Array Technologies show that the latter’s centralized tracker architecture has a 6.7% advantage over decentralized models, and that centralized architectures also offer advantages in terms of durability and resilience to weather and other environmental risks.

The study, available to download here, compared the two different tracker architectures on a range factors including scheduled & unscheduled maintenance, high wind/structural load performance and individual components.

Overall, TÜV Rheinland found the economics of centralized tracker architecture to be stronger. Lower O&M costs, thanks to fewer components, gave the model a cost advantage of $517,194. The centralized model also performed better in terms of Levelized cost of electricity, based on a 100 MW PV array LCOE was estimated at $0.0275/kWh for the centralized architecture, versus $0.0294/kWh for decentralized.

Presenting the report today at WFES, Array Technologies stated the report is particularly relevant for the MENA region, given the strong winds and extreme heat present there. “It’s crucial that project developers and EPCs begin to look at the importance of O&M costs when it comes to component selection,” said Array Technologies Executive Chairman, Brad Forth, when presenting the report. “The risks inherent to some tracker systems are significant and can have a massive impact on a project’s viability as well as profitability over 20 or 30 years.”