White Paper:
Optimizing Your Energy Yield 
TrueCapture Smart Control Technology Boosts Energy Production and Financial Returns

Authors: Allan Daly & Venkata Abbaraju

Although single-axis trackers provide the best option for capturing more solar energy and increasing the power production of large solar fields, there is a significant opportunity to further boost performance. Most tracking systems employ a “backtracking” algorithm to help reduce inter-row shading when the sun is at low angles early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The algorithm factors in the position of the sun over the course of the year as well as the shape, size and layout of the arrays to minimize shading and allow for additional solar energy to be harvested. Backtracking has its limits though; since its introduction in the early 1990s, there has been little advancement in the technology. For example, it does not adequately compensate for uneven site topographies and less-than-optimal irradiance conditions. As a result, some potential additional energy production is left on the table.

In this paper, we focus on two leading areas for yield improvement:

  • Differential elevations from one tracker row to the next that cause either inter-row shading and/or a backtracking algorithm that is set too loosely, reducing energy yield for most of the field.
  • Diffuse light conditions that reduce energy yield when arrays follow standard astronomical tracking positions.

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