How can I evaluate the ROI of an InteliTrack Rail Tracking System against the ROI of a fixed-rack system?

Adding an InteliTrack system to your PV investment will reduce the total cost, by reducing the number of panels and other system components needed to achieve your job.  In most US locations, using an InteliTrack Rail Tracking System will reduce the number of panels you will need by about 40%, to harvest an equal number of kilowatt-hours of energy each year.

But to easily calculate the ROI of your InteliTrack system, you can base your math on a fixed number of panels, and compare the higher energy cost savings with the change in system cost.

For example, consider a system in northern Colorado.  The first column gives the system with fixed racks;  the second column shows the cost and savings with an InteliTrack system, but with the same number of panels;  and the third column comes from subtracting the second minus the first:

Adding the InteliTrack system increases the energy produced by 39%, based on data from the National Renewable Energy Lab’s PVWatts database.  (For more on how to use this free online tool to estimate the energy from your photovoltaic system, go here.)

39% more energy from each panel means 56,000 more kWh each year.  At an average grid energy cost of $0.10 per kWh, that means an increased annual saving of $5,633.

To save that much more requires a higher investment – about $35,000 higher in this example.  That means the investment in the tracking system produces a Return On Investment of greater than 16%, and has a payback time about six years.  (Much better than the ROI for the fixed system, which is about 5%, with a payback time of about eighteen years.)

This is a simple way to estimate your ROI – and for sites throughout the US and Canada, it shows an ROI much higher than fixed-rack systems, with a payback time less than half that of fixed rack systems.  But we do not recommend you size your system this way;  you can save more by reducing the number of panels and other system components, so that your up-front cost is less than with fixed racks or other tracking systems.

To work through these calculations for your site, please provide your contact information in the fields to the right, and click “Submit”.  A Sedona Solar Technology engineer will contact you soon.

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