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Tracking Systems Help Boost the Eco-Efficiency of PV Power Plants

Posted 26 June 2013 1:36 PM by First Solar

Eco-efficiency is the concept of creating more value with less environmental impact. First Solar’s mission ‘to create enduring value by enabling a world powered by clean and affordable solar electricity’ articulates the company’s commitment to eco-efficiency. By producing affordable PV power plants with proven energy yield advantages along with the smallest carbon footprint, lowest water use, and fastest energy payback time of all solar technologies, First Solar is leading the way with eco-efficient PV energy solutions.

PV tracking systems can further improve the sustainability of CdTe PV power plants by creating more energy with lower life cycle environmental impacts. Tracking systems follow the sun’s movement throughout the day enabling PV modules to capture more available sunlight, resulting in energy gains of approximately 10-24% in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Tracker Eco-Efficiency

First Solar Tracker systems generate up to 25% more energy, deliver a lower Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), and a bankable production profile preferred by utilities.

Although tracking systems use some electricity during operation and require more cabling and steel than fixed-tilt systems, their energy yield advantage more than compensates for the higher construction and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs and their associated environmental impacts. In addition, tracking systems require fewer modules, which results in slightly lower environmental impacts associated with manufacturing and decommissioning.

Tracker Eco-Efficiency
PV tracking systems reduce the carbon footprint and energy payback time of PV systems, resulting in lower life cycle environmental impacts.

Tracking systems can contribute to an eco-efficient strategy by enabling PV power plants to produce more energy with fewer modules, thereby lowering both the costs and life cycle environmental impacts per kWh generated.

First Solar’s technical article titled “Eco-Efficiency of CdTe Photovoltaics with Tracking Systems” was presented at the 39th IEEE PV Specialists Conference, one of the world’s leading conferences on PV research and technology. The paper was written by First Solar’s Parikhit Sinha, Matthew Schneider, Scott Dailey, and Calvin Jepson, along with SmartGreenScan’s Mariska de Wild-Scholten.

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