Solar Builder

JAN 2018

Solar Builder focuses on the installation/construction of solar PV systems. We cover the latest PV technology (modules, mounting, inverters, storage, BOS) and equip installers/contractors with tips and tools to make informed purchasing decisions.

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34 JA N UA RY / F E B RUA RY 2 0 1 8 2. Single-axis tracking has become the dominant technology choice for the ground-mounted market in the United States, primarily due to continued price reductions and improved energy yields. Single-axis trackers have become increasingly popular in the United States in recent years, growing steadily in market share from 2014 to 2016 to 70 percent of market share compared to fixed-tilt systems in terms of megawatt shipments. From 2017 to 2018, IHS Markit forecasts the share of fixed-tilt systems for ground-mounted systems will remain relatively stable as demand for such solutions remains strong in markets with lower solar resource, incompatible weather patterns, less than ideal land types and when modules can be procured cheap enough to capitalize on the denser ground coverage ratio of fixed-tilt systems. 3. The competitive landscape for single-axis trackers continues to grow at a rapid pace. Due to higher demand for single-axis tracking systems in the United States, many suppliers have jumped into the market, but none have a greater presence than the two leading suppliers: NEXTracker and Array Technologies. Both have a multi-gigawatt track record of shipments and installations in the United States and are seeking to grow in international markets as global demand for tracking systems continues to increase. Notably, the two suppliers utilize vastly differ- ent tracker designs that are able to meet different needs: NEXTracker's architecture is distributed while Array Technologies is centralized. In basic terms, a distributed system can add flexibility in layout design and distribute the risk of failure to smaller portions of the system, while a centralized design can simplify O&M requirements and reduce the amount of motors needed. In addition to the leading players, many other suppliers have also developed tracking systems. Some of the rapidly emerging domestic suppliers of single-axis trackers in the United States include SunLink, GameChange Solar and Solar FlexRack, all of which also maintain a portfolio of products dedicated to the fixed-tilt market. International tracker suppliers such as Soltec, Arctech and Scorpius are also vying to increase their market presence in the United States, in addition to their domestic markets of Spain, China and India, respectively. NEXTracker can apply in-house monitoring and software to optimize and manage the operations of the energy storage system with the output from the tracker system. Pictured here is Pirapora I and III in Brazil .

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