Trina Tracker, a leading solar track brand under Trina Solar, is launching into Australia to cater to growing demand in the utility-sector for trackers that are compatible with the new, larger format bifacial modules above 500W.
Trina Tracker is unique in offering integrated PV-tracker solutions to the market as a single point of procurement and accountability. The platform also offers sufficient flexibility to offer Trina Tracker structures that integrate with modules from other manufacturers.
Two types of Trina Tracker are being introduced into Australia: Vanguard 2P single row tracker and Agile 1P dual row tracker.
“We have an advantage over our tracker competitors, because our parent Trina Solar is a pioneer of the new, larger format bifacial modules above 500W,” says Andrew Gilhooly, Head of Trina Solar’s Utility Solutions in Asia Pacific.
Having early access to the new module technology has meant, “we had a head-start on our tracker competitors when it came to wind-tunnel verification and performing the necessary due diligence to integrate smart trackers with the new, larger solar panels in a cost optimised manner” he says. “For example, we have optimized the trackers’ performance in terms of the longer string length possible with large wafer modules. We can fully accommodate these longer strings on longer and wider tracker structures with confidence. This means we can have up to 40 modules in a string, unlocking savings not only on the tracker cost on motors and piles (as low as 120 piles per MW DC) but also saving on downstream electrical balance of system costs, fewer string cables, combiner boxes, trenches and so forth.”
Trina Tracker technology also delivers lower lifecycle costs. “The motors and bearings have proven reliability because these components are already deployed in projects elsewhere in the world, totalling more than 5GW. The trackers require only infrequent visual inspection during operation and maintenance (O&M)” says Gilhooly.
And it comes with a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system for real-time data monitoring and analytics to measure solar system performance and assist with control functions including module cleaning and site vegetation management.
The lower construction and operating cost derived from Trina Trackers coupled with a higher, more assured long term energy outcome contributes to a lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE). This higher yield is made possible by Trina Tracker’s patented ’Super Track’ technology that uses algorithms to not only track the sun’s movement, but applies machine learning techniques to continually evaluate the optimal tilt angle - in consideration of topographical data, albedo, cloud cover and so forth -to fully glean the value stack possible of utilizing bifacial modules on single axis trackers.
“The Australian utility market has embraced trackers, because you unlock considerably higher energy yield and thus lower cost of energy,” says Gilhooly. He says because of this, approximately 85% of the new utility-scale projects coming on line in Australia use trackers, while the remaining 15% use fixed-tilt approaches.
Australia is the largest market in Asia Pacific, outside China, for bifacial modules coupled with trackers. Trina Tracker maintains a firm commitment to the Australian market with extensive in-country support for customers at every stage of their project life cycle, building on the long-standing presence of Trina Solar in the market.
Another trend in Australia is we are seeing the sites becoming increasingly challenging. “Sites close to grid connections and high energy demand are largely built-out, as is most flat land that is easy to build upon. The sites that are left, are those that are challenging whether it be steep, undulating terrain; very rocky ground or clay soils that swell in the wet and shrink in the heat.”
Sites available for solar farm development are often in isolated places. “There is the trend here where the mining companies are embracing renewables. By their very nature, the mine sites are in extremely remote locations, so you have very high labour mobilization costs and costs incurred as result of stringent regulatory requirements.”
“Engineering, procurement and construction companies are trying to navigate through all these challenges in Australia. Anything that can lower their risk is a real value-add,” says Gilhooly. “Trina Tracker has fewer piles per megawatt and a high degree of slope tolerance. It has been designed for quick on-site assembly to help EPCs (engineering, procurement and construction companies) mitigate Australia’s generally high labour costs.”
“To further differentiate ourselves in the market, we provide high-value design services that includes pre-sales engineering support and support during project execution. We work with customers. They give us the project details – boundary, target, megawatt capacity, project timing, any geotechnical or topography surveys, etc. We can then quickly evaluate the specific site and how to meet the target outcome.”
“We have all the possible design configurations for Trina Tracker embedded in our design platform, so we can do the site optimization and evaluation very quickly to compress the pre-sales phase of our customers’ projects and enable them to respond to more tenders and opportunities in a more productive manner.”