LATAM Solar Market: Report Highlights Impact of Tracker Technology on Profitability of Utility-Scale PV Plants

Centralised tracker architecture delivers lifetime LCOE savings of $12.41 million for 100 MW project

BUENOS AIRES9 March 2017 – Array Technologies, Inc., the pioneer and global leader in reliable solar tracking solutions, released an analysis by TÜV Rheinland of tracker reliability and its impact on utility-scale PV plants in Latin America. The report, released this week at Energyear South Cone in Buenos Aires, comes just days after the announcement that LatAm is the world’s largest PV tracker market, according to GTM Research.

The independent analysis by TÜV indicates that a centralised tracker architecture delivers an LCOE advantage over decentralised systems of 6.7%. This is due largely to lower scheduled and unscheduled maintenance costs. The study also shows how the centralised tracker architecture analysed is resilient to a wide range of environmental challenges, leading to superior PV project profitability and to long-term investment security.

The importance of tracker reliability in LatAm PV markets is paramount. Given wide ranging environmental conditions and climates in the region, tracker systems can be exposed to extremely challenging operational conditions. These can range from extreme heat and hurricanes in parts of Mexico, to freezing temperatures and dry, dusty conditions in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

“It is vital that utility-scale PV developers do their due diligence when it comes to tracker system selection throughout Latin America,” said Cesar Alberte, Array’s Vice President of International Sales. “This new report demonstrates how the risks inherent to some tracker systems can have a tremendous impact on a project’s viability and profitability over its lifetime.”

The latest tracker market analysis by GTM Research reveals that the LatAm PV markets surpassed the United States for the first time in 2017, to become the world’s largest. According to GTM, 1.5 GW of trackers were installed each in Mexico and Brazil in 2017. The analysis forecasts that nearly 20 GW of tracker systems will be installed globally in 2018 – representing 30% year-over-year growth.

The report, presented by Array Technologies in LatAm for the first time at Energyear South Cone, found that a centralised rotary-drive tracker architecture delivers an LCOE of 2.75 cents/kWh for a 100 MW solar array, while a decentralised architecture can only achieve 2.94 cents/kWh. Over a 30-year expected PV array lifetime, that amounts to LCOE savings of $12.41 million.

Key takeaways from the report findings include:

the centralised tracker studied has fewer motors, electrical components and sensors, thereby requiring less scheduled and unscheduled maintenance;

the electrical components deployed in decentralized systems, including lithium-ion battery packs, can be prone to failure in the field, particularly when operating in extreme temperatures;

Array’s centralised trackers are less susceptible to torsional galloping and consequential damage to solar modules, due to their patented mechanical load release system; and

the commercially rated and readily available components for wind mitigation used in Array trackers are more resilient under harsh environmental conditions and can be easily replaced in the unlikely event of failure.

“O&M costs can stack up quickly if tracker components fail, particularly when the repairs are unexpected and not a part of a regular maintenance regime,” said Alberte. “The analysis carried out by TÜV Rheinland will begin a discussion about tracker reliability throughout LatAm among project developers, EPCs, and investors active in the utility-scale PV market segment.”

To learn more about the impact of tracker reliability on utility-scale solar throughout LatAm, please download the report here: http://www.arraytechinc.com/latam-tracker-report/

About Array Technologies:

Array Technologies, Inc. is the leading solar tracking solutions and services provider for utility-scale projects. With efficient installation and terrain flexibility coupled with high reliability, durability, and performance, Array delivers the best project returns in the industry. As the chosen tracker for more than 16 GW years of energy production, Array’s products have been optimized through unparalleled experience garnered over nearly three decades. Array Technologies is headquartered in the United States with offices in Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, and Australia. For more information, please visit arraytechinc.com.

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