Major horizontal single-axis solar tracker firm Soltec is opening the first of its kind ‘Bifacial Tracking Evaluation Center’ (BiTEC) in Livermore, California to further scientifically evaluate the performance of bifacial PV modules and the tracking performance with single-axis trackers.
Soltec said that the BiTEC facility had depended on the collaboration of the U. S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in providing the correct simulation models for the centre, while Black & Veatch and the Renewable Energy Test Center (RETC), would utilize the BiTEC resources in their joint Bifacial Characterization and Ranking Initiative.
This therefore creates the opportunity to further assess the performance gains and validate the performance models on bifacial modules from a larger number of global PV module manufacturers.
Soltec also noted that it would be investigating some specific factors that are known to influence production, such as module mounting height above grade, rear-side obstructions that cause shading and losses, and varying inter-row spacing distances to measure the effect on albedo.
“Some variables, such as diffuse irradiance or module mounting height, which are often considered of minor importance in standard module applications, can have a much more significant influence in bifacial applications in order to maximize yield,” noted Javier Guerrero Ph.D., Soltec’s R&D Manager USA. “With BiTEC, we aim to quantify bifacial yield-gain opportunities that our standard product enables uniquely, and furthermore optimize a bifacial tracking algorithm via comprehensive tracker positioning control to make the most of those opportunities.”
Initial bifacial module performance analysis was undertaken by Soltec in 2015, via customer test-bed of utility-scale bifacial tracking at La Silla, high in the Atacama Desert of Chile.