Evaluation of Fixed and Single-Axis Tracking Photovoltaic Systems Using Modeling Tool and Field Testing

Document Type : Original Article


Sun-Air Research Institute (SARI), Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


One of the main issues to build a photovoltaic plant is to specify the type of mounting structure used for solar panels. Making a proper choice for the structure type is crucial to harvest the maximum performance from the PV plant. In this paper, two of the most common types of structures have been investigated by analyzing two 2.4 kW PV systems. One system has a fixed structure and the other one has a single vertical-axis structure. The energy production, performance ratio and final yield of both systems have been monitored, analyzed and compared over a one-year period. Performance of PV plants is often predicted by modeling tools prior to the construction of plant and the results of simulations are usually considered as a reliable source to design a PV plant and supply the equipment. Thus, the accuracy of modeling tool results are vital for both investors and installers. Therefore, PVsyst as one of the most commonly used modeling tools has been studied by simulating both PV systems and comparing the predicted and measured data. The error margin of simulations has been within the range of 1%, 3% and 1% for generated energy, performance ratio and final yield respectively, and the tracker system generated 28% more energy compared to fixed system in one year.