Solar Builder

JUL-AUG 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.

Issue link: http://digital.solarbuildermag.com/i/992843

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16 J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 S tarting on page 32, we dig into what's new in the large-scale tracker market, but not all tracking sys- tems need acres of land. All Earth Renewables offers an alternative to rooftops for those doing residential and small C&I work. Now on its Generation 4 Solar Tracker, AllEarth is building on the strengths and history of the first three generations. Here is what's changed: Structure Made from a single-piece steel tubular axle for a sleeker look and lower part count, the biggest change is in the move from hydraulics to electrical motion actuators for tilt and yaw. "This eliminates deal- ing with hydraulic fluid," according to mechanical engineer Tim Hoopes. "The electrically driven Planetary Gear Motors have a heli- cal first stage to minimize noise for smooth and quiet operation." For yaw, power to the motor is ramped up and down by a pulse width modulation (PWM) algorithm in the control system to minimize impact loading for smooth operation and long life. Hoopes says this is also more energy efficient with all controls and operation using less than 1 percent of the energy production. A custom linear actuator is used to achieve the tilt motion. The actuator design uses a large diameter ACME threaded rod for col- umn strength. "We have married the strength of the hydraulic cylinder with the reliability of electric drives," Hoopes says. "The motor is the same as the yaw system for a low part count, and a tilt feedback sensor allows for greater positional accuracy." Gen 4 also has continuous operation during a grid power outage. MOUNTING NEW IN Meet the fourth generation tracker from AllEarth Renewables By Chris Crowell Tilt in Action

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