Solar photovoltaic tracking systems differ from fixed-tilt systems in that they track the position of the sun and in the process, partially shade one another over a range of solar angles. The resulting power loss calculations are non-linear and computationally intensive, so broad approximations are often applied in PV simulation tools. However, if one is to optimize the design of a solar PV tracking system, such as the arrangement and interconnection of PV cells and modules on a tracker, and the spacing between trackers and tracker rows, shading losses must be well understood and accurately accounted for.
This thesis aims to design and implement a PV simulation model in MATLAB which predicts annual energy production using site-specific weather parameters while accurately accounting for shading losses at a PV-cell level. The model is then used to optimize the spacing of a hypothetical tracking system.