The PV Solar industry continues to adopt tracker systems for increased energy yields and higher power output during more hours of the day. However, trackers can pose difficulties for monitoring systems and O&M providers due to inadequate visibility of real-world operations. Unlike fixed tilt sites, trackers also introduce multiple mechanical and electrical challenges. If left unattended, shortfalls in production accumulate, which can create significant production losses over time.
Owner’s Agent Mike Whitson with PowerOn Energy Consultants contacted Solar Operations Solutions, LLC (Solar-Ops) with an operational visibility and control requirement in a new tracker system. Tracking mechanical failure mode in real time was exceptionally difficult and the mechanical issue was amplified by improper wiring at installation. With DC homeruns routed near the edge of the solar modules, any tracker actuation failure would cause mechanically linked rows to electrically tear apart.
Solar-Ops’ myPV IQ software – a monitoring and control solution for utility scale PV solar and energy storage facilities – includes tools to visualize ganged and independent tracker rows, supporting enhanced asset management and maintenance capabilities. myPV IQ’s realtime visualizations and high-resolution trending directed PowerOn’s commissioning staff to specific equipment failures in realtime. In addition, once the common failure modes were identified, myPV IQ was configured to automatically respond to tracker faults and prevent damage to mechanically linked rows.
“With myPV IQ, our team quickly identified and resolved issues, thus removing barriers to commercial operation and accelerating our capacity testing. During the system qualification, we were able to easily monitor the trackers to ensure they were operating properly and reset faults as they occurred remotely,” said Mike Whitson.
myPV IQ can be deployed as a full SCADA system to monitor and control all connected equipment on site. It can also be easily installed as a retrofitted tracker-only monitoring and control solution. myPV IQ’s realtime visibility and remote tracker control can reduce power-generation losses and prevent site damage.
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