Australia’s Most Sophisticated Solar Power System
Carrara Stadium – Home of the Gold Coast Suns… Hosts a Solar Halo
Learn more about Australia’s most sophisticated Solar Design in this Solar Power Case Study.
How do you successfully design a multi-orientation, varying-slope solar power system in near-permanent shade? Trust SunWiz!
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Name: Gold Coast Stadium (Carrara) Solar Halo System Size: 215 kWp Client: Stowe Australia (Co-Design) Completion: March 2011 Précis: SunWiz performed Australia’s most complex PV design, overcoming multi-orientation, multi-inclination, and shading. SunWiz’s solution elegantly addressed the design challenges of an aesthetically-pleasing horseshoe-wave panel architecture whilst overcoming the inverter topology constraints. Design Challenges Panels within a solar panel string should face in the same direction, otherwise performance will be constrained by the worst-performing panel in any given moment – that facing most away from the sun. The architecture of the sports stadium consisted of curved bays with 30° difference in pitch between the end panels, the 270° of variance in orientation occurred around the football oval. Through detailed performance simulation, SunWiz determined that dividing the bays into three would meet the client’s performance requirements, producing 5 % more yield than if divided into two, and 9% more yield than if undivided. To achieve further gains, a high-performance section of the bay was created by assigning fewer panels to the northern-most string. The bays of 14 and 18 panels were split into three by connecting adjacent same-facing panels from adjacent bays into strings of 8 and 10 panels, in order to also fall within the inverter voltage’s window of operation. Although Maximum Power Point losses result from an array with parallel strings facing different orientation, SunWiz showed that losses were negligible, but that the design was indeed highly shade tolerant. As each inverter input should have the same number of panels per string, strings of 10 were combined and treated separately to strings of 8. Long wiring runs were minimised, though occasionally unavoidable due to other physical constraints, including inverter dual-MPPT configuration and inverter location. Two standard inter-bay wiring templates were created, and a global wiring naming was created to simplify the job of installers. Through a 3D CAD solar simulation, SunWiz showed that the impact of shading from the light towers would be minimised using this sophisticated design, compromising only 4% of the annual yield, even though some part of the system would almost always be in shade at any one time. Further services provided on this project included custom panel design, project management, REC creation, and ongoing system performance analysis.