To test the power output efficiency of solar tracking system in real world, Georgia Power cooperated with researchers at University of Georgia (UGA) to build a 1MW solar tracking demonstration project in a land in Athens, Georgia owned by UGA.
Leaders from Georgia Power, UGA officials, and Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols jointly dedicated the project on December 15. The demonstration project marks a collaboration between utility and university for advance in solar technology in Georgia.
"The complex problems facing our world today, such as the need to expand our sources of energy, require not only interdisciplinary efforts but also multi-institutional efforts that involve higher education, private industry, and government," said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. "The Solar Tracking Demonstration Project is a perfect example of this type of broad collaboration, and the University of Georgia is pleased to be part of this exciting endeavor."
Researchers from the College of Engineering of UGA will lead the testament and conduct a two-year research. They will study solar forecasting and the effects of solar panel soiling versus performance. Data analysis and performance reporting will occur through a Georgia Power partnership with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The main object of the research is to find out the optimal orientation and tracking technology for the Georgia state through studying the performance and reliability of various fixed and tracking configurations of five separate sub-arrays.
Georgia Power owns the facility and will operate it under a 20-year lease agreement with UGA. The power generated from the facility will be sent to Georgia Power’s customers through the state’s grid, while UGA will enjoy the renewable energy credits.
"Working in coordination with the Georgia Public Service Commission, and through strong relationships with organizations such as UGA, we have positioned Georgia as a national solar leader," said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. "Now more than ever, it's essential that we continue to invest in the research and development of new technologies to make solar, and all generation sources, as reliable, efficient and cost-effective for our customers as possible."