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.

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38 J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 Soltec S oltec, a manufacturer and supplier of single-axis solar trackers and related services, has installed its trackers all over the globe for more than a decade now, but the com- pany says 2017 was its best year so far, showing over 200 percent revenue growth. The strategic move to the United States in 2015 has coincided with additional market share in 2017, amid market uncertainties and strong competition. Structure The DC Harness StringRunner wire management solution is a proprietary standardized component of Soltec's SF7 tracker. It performs the functions of combining fused PV source circuits and cabling a homerun trunk circuit, all enclosed within the tracker torque tube, to a DC power switch for off-take. It eliminates the traditional fused combiner box and other cable management mate- rials and controls the power output of eight trackers typically around 240 kW. Soltec says the cost benefits come from the reduction of materi- als and related operations in manufacturing, power plant design, purchasing, supply and installation. The net cost benef it is a 30 to 35 percent reduction of installed f irst-cost compared to the traditional exposed installation of bundled copper wire circuits with a traditional combiner box. Installation labor is reduced by 75 percent thanks to less material and fewer manual operations including wire connections. There are yield-gain benef its too with a reduction of IR cable losses, reliable low-resistance connections and factory dimen- sioned trunk cable sizing. The elimination of cable-management backside shading increases tracker compatibility with bifacial module technology. Software Comparative tracker yield-gain elements are both standard and site-dependent. Principal to site-dependence is asymmetric backtracking control to modify tracking position in the case that terrain irregularities cause inter-row shading in morning and afternoon hours, a case that is avoidable on f lat terrain. Soltec's TeamTrack asymmetric backtracking control solu- tion achieves both yield-gain and cost reduction benef its in tracker technology, achieving up to 6 percent yield-gain over the alternative of standard tracking on irregular terrain, and enabling cost reduction of earth-grading on contours and steps. The TeamTrack differs from other backtracking solutions that incorporate an auxiliary PV module and feedback response mechanisms that can add cost and vulnerability by instead per- forming the task straightforward with programmed operation and robust tracker position control. The TeamTrack control algorithm works with NREL sun position data versus programmed constants of local irregulari- ties (that never change) to calculate and execute backtracking movements and avoid inter-row shading. TeamTrack is part of comprehensive tracker positioning control that includes sensing and response to cloud cover, snow cover, standing water level and wind regime. Smartly designed structure offers slick wire management TRACKING TRACKERS

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