Optimal Mounting Configuration for Bifacial Solar Modules on Single Axis Trackers

With the increasing popularity of bifacial solar modules, solar racking manufacturers have introduced single axis trackers with various mounting configurations into the market. This study aims to identify the most financially preferable mounting configuration from the standpoint of project ownership, accounting for relative racking structure costs, relative installation costs, and energy production.

Energy Production modeling was performed using the System Advisor Model (SAM) software developed by NREL which determines rear side irradiance gain accounting for normalized height of the rack, how structure shades the rear side of the module and portrait vs. landscape module orientation. Structural analysis was performed on each mounting configuration by a licensed Professional Engineer. The relative cost of the rack for each configuration was identified. Relative costs for installation were also determined. Finally, financial models for the applicable configurations were created accounting for total project CAPEX, O&M, and revenues from energy production including module degradation.