Chugach has established a solar test facility to test the cost effectiveness and generation effectiveness of different solar panel types, and tracking versus non-tracking mounting systems.
The test site consists of three arrays, one fixed angle and facing due south; one with the same fixed angle but with a single vertical-axis tracker that follows the sun; and one with a dual-axis tracker that can face nearly any direction above the horizon and will track the sun or the brightest spot in the sky. Two different types of panels are being tested. Each array contains one of each panel type.
The system is being programmed and commissioned in December and data collection is expected to start in January. The data from the system will both help inform Chugach of the optimal system design as well as help inform the public about the merits and challenges of solar in each of these configurations. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is partnering with Chugach to establish the testing protocol and to analyze the data.