Australian solar output comparison

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Training
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Not all cities are solar equals 

Today we will be looking at the differences in output with a 1000 kW commercial solar system which include :

  • City by city comparison 
  • Based on different tilt angles and 
  • Different degrees azimuth from true North

Australia is a large continent with varying sun hours from Hobart in the South all the way up to Darwin in the North. These sun hour differences, combined with other factors result in significant variations in photovoltaic output but before looking into this area in any detail let's look at the assumptions.

And the assumptions are? 

The assumptions we have made include:

  • Cost of electricity at the beginning is $0.20/kWh
  • Price of electricity will increase 3% every year
  • Maintenance cost for first year is $500
  • Increases 2% every year
  • Panel output degradation of 2% after the first year and
  • 0.7 % reduction every year after that
  • Looking at 10 and 25 year periods

The data referenced is from the CEC output tables for Australia and the analysis was performed via a spreadsheet approach.

The size of the system is fixed at 1000 kW or 1 MW. These size systems are becoming more prevalent not only in ground mount situations but also roof mount.

1 MW system, 10 degree tilt, 0 degree azimuth  

Interesting points include:

  • This particular configuration is best suited to Darwin and Cairns
  • Alice Springs has the best savings
  • The difference between the best city and the worst, Alice and Hobart, over 25 years, is $4,318,126

1 MW system, 20 degree tilt, 0 degree azimuth


Interesting points include:

  • This particular configuration is best suited to Cairns and Darwin, 100% max but
  • Alice Springs has the best savings
  • The difference between the best and next best, Alice Springs and Hobart, over 25 years, is $4,298,318


1 MW system, 30 degree tilt, 0 degree azimuth


Interesting points include:

  • This particular configuration is best suited to 7 x cities, 100% max
  • Alice Springs has the best savings, of course
  • Between the best and worst of the 100% max cities, Alice Springs and Melbourne is $3,487,179
  • The average is $9,033,999

1 MW system, 0 degree tilt, 90 degree azimuth


We have now gone to a full East facing configuration:

  • There are no cities where this is ideal
  • Alice Springs has the best savings, of course
  • Difference between Alice Springs and Hobart is $4,215,785
  • The average is $8,068,520


1 MW system, 10 degree tilt, 90 degree azimuth

This is a full East facing configuration at 10 degree tilt:

  • From O to 10 degrees tilt Hobart has hardly changed, about $300
  • Alice Spring’s output has increased by about $110,000
  • Again, no 100% ideal for any city

1 MW system, 20 degree tilt, 90 degree azimuth

Full East facing configuration:

  • All cities have decreased in total production
  • Sunlight capture has decreased in the middle of the day due to the higher East facing tilt angle.
  • Again, no 100% ideal for any city.

Conclusion

✅ The best angle for most cities is 30 degrees at 0 degree azimuth

✅ Alice Springs consistently produces the most output of all major Australian cities

✅ If configuring panels East West the flatter the tilt the higher the overall output in many cases

✅ The difference between the Southern cities and their Northern counterparts is considerable

If you’d like to see what Greenwood Solutions get up to in the real world of renewable energy, solar, battery storage and grid protection check out our Industry and Commercial pages:

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/industry 

https://www.greenwoodsolutions.com.au/commercial

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