A comprehensive economic analysis method for selecting the PV array structure in grid–connected photovoltaic systems


Systematic approach to determine the most profitable PV structure type is presented.

A precious method is proposed to compute the extra electrical produced energy gain of sun tracker.

Same electrical energy generation scenario is chosen to make fast and simple procedure with robust results.

Besides sun tracker gain, the equipment costs are also considered to select the most profitable structure.


In grid–connected photovoltaic (GCPV) systems, applying a solar tracker results in a higher energy production level. However, this does not necessarily mean a greater profit due to the excess of generation selling, since the capital and maintenance costs increase as well. In this paper, a comprehensive economic analysis method for selecting the PV array structure type has been proposed. To this end, a precise method to compute the yearly generated electrical energy (solar converted energy) has been presented by applying the global radiation relation between different structures, i.e. fixed, single axis (vertical and horizontal) and dual axis trackers. Also, the simple and yet accurate efficiency model and power relation are used for solar inverter and panel, respectively. The analysis is accomplished by determining the economic parameters, including net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), and payback period time (PBT) for all PV structures with the same electrical energy generation or profit. Due to the results simplicity and robustness in different economic conditions, the same energy production scenario is chosen in this paper. In accordance with this assumption, PV panel, inverter and tracker sizes and net present costs (NPC) are determined. Since the net present benefit (NPB) for all structures is equal, the lowest NPC is considered the most economic choice. The performance of the suggested algorithm is evaluated through a commercial dual axis GCPV system simulation. Moreover, in order to determine the best suited economic parameters, a sensitivity analysis has also been carried out in the process.


  • Grid-connected photovoltaic (GCPV) system;
  • PV module;
  • Inverter;
  • Sun tracker;
  • Net present value (NPV)

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