Shaded fraction and backtracking in single-axis trackers on rolling terrain

Kevin S. Anderson, Adam R. Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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A generalized closed-form equation for the shaded collector fraction in solar arrays on rolling or undulating terrain is provided for single-axis tracking and fixed-tilt systems. The equation accounts for different rotation angles between the shaded and shading trackers, cross-axis slope between the two trackers, and offset between the collector plane and axis of rotation. The validity of the equation is demonstrated through comparison with numerical ray-tracing simulations and remaining minor sources of error are quantified. Additionally, a simple procedure to determine backtracking rotations for each row in an array installed on the rolling terrain (varying in the direction perpendicular to the tracker axes) is provided. The backtracking equation accounts for a desired shaded fraction (including complete shade avoidance) as well as an axis-collector offset. Test cases are provided to facilitate implementation of these equations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number023504
JournalJournal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy
Issue number2
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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