RINA and Array Technologies Release PVTrax: a PV Tracker Lifetime Cost Analysis Tool 

21 Jul 2020

RINA, an independent global testing, inspection, certification, and engineering consultancy services firm, and Array Technologies, market leaders in single-axis solar tracking, announced the availability of a comprehensive analysis and lifetime cost assessment of the two most common utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) single-axis tracker designs in the marketplace today. PVTrax, a free modelling application that provides project owners, developers, and funders with detailed insights on expected lifetime operational costs for single-axis tracking solutions, is also being made publicly available by RINA for the first time. 

RINA developed PVTrax to examine specific plant components from a lifetime cost perspective and to aid in the effective selection of the most appropriate plant components.

PVTrax is available to any company in the solar industry to perform analysis and inform decision making. PVTrax and related documents provide solar developers as well as asset owners and renewable plant operators with real-world financial data to make more thoughtful project component selection and insight into how these initial choices surprisingly affect the total lifetime cost of ownership of a PV power plant.

This multi-year research effort includes long-term estimates of how design-phase plant component choices affect uptime, risk, operations and maintenance, warranty considerations, and ultimately plant profitability over the 30-year lifespan of a modern PV power plant. 

"This research has created a methodology and tool to help weigh OPEX and CAPEX decisions and select the most suitable PV tracker technology." said Jeff Krantz Chief Commercial Officer at Array Technologies, "As we have long suspected, for the products considered by the case study, Array is a clear frontrunner for long-term PV project returns."

"Solar assets are now expected to run beyond 30 years. As the PV industry faces increased pressure from lower PPA contracts, stakeholders are increasing their focus on lifetime costs " said Jose Luis Galo, Technical Lead, RINA's solar business, "This RINA research and modeling tool, PVTrax, directly helps developers, lenders, owners, and EPCs proactively address lifetime costs and component performance."  

This assessment takes an initial CAPEX and overall project OPEX, then performs detailed component by component modelling on likely tracker failure profiles, OPEX, and lost revenues. The tool can be used to model most common centralized and decentralized single-axis trackers, and as well as the lifetime OPEX, including operations and maintenance (O&M), of the two tracking technologies and compares the impact of tracker failures on the lifetime performance of the PV plant. The two primary metrics used in the lifetime cost analysis are Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) and Net Present Value (NPV).

RINA | http://www.rina.org

Array Technologies | arraytechinc.com