Comparison with a conventional fixed structure fitted with south-facing panels
The main advantage of a tracker is to have the panels set in an ideal position relative to the sun all year round. By rotating the structure according to the position of the sun, more electricity can be extracted from the panels. Long-term measurements confirm that panels on tilt structures produce approximately one-third more electricity than fixed-installation photovoltaics. Moreover, thanks to the winding, the electricity production is evenly distributed throughout the day. Photovoltaics reach high power soon after sunrise and maintain it until sunset. Although the output at these times is lower than at midday, it is still significantly higher than that of panels facing steadily south. In addition, PV generation with cranking better covers the morning and evening peaks in electricity demand, allowing it to take advantage of higher feed-in tariffs during these time periods.
From Italy to Denmark
Typically, trackers are built in Southern Europe, where the higher number of solar hours can actually result in 30% higher annual production than on a conventional fixed substructure. Last year, we started tracker construction in the Emilia-Romaña region north of Bologna, Italy. The PV plant for the major Italian electricity distributor ENEL has a total installed capacity of 16.87 MWp. A very robust tracker design from Italian manufacturer PVH was chosen, with a length of 60 m and 54 panels. We must not forget the time required for installation. The more components, requirements for higher precision ramming of the piles (using laser only) and assembly, the greater the time and money required for both installation and operation and maintenance.