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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40 J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 8 SunLink S unLink 's single-a xis tracker TechTrack is one of the quickest mounting systems to install, large- ly due to the simplicity of every component designed to eliminate ineffi- ciencies and optimize energy production. The company is responding to the current environment, with customers looking for faster installation to keep up with their volume of solar projects and ultimately reduce field labor and associated installa- tion costs, with some tweaks to its tracker design. Hardware One change is a new bearing and pivot design that arrives on site preassembled. The new and improved bearing design provides enough room in the stabilizer stroke (SunLink active damper) so that the system no longer needs to be rotated. Instead, the stabilizer mount position can be set from a measurement, saving sub- stantial installation time. And with the preassembled bearings, installation crews can immediately install the component, saving valuable time in avoiding additional assembly of multiple parts in the field. An additional design benefit enables drop-in torque tubes, eliminating the requirement for specialized jack equip- ment. SunLink also improved the durabil- ity of its pivot and bearing to withstand the rigors of construction crew handling on the project site. "Another way we're is reducing installa- tion time is by revisiting our slew arm," says Kate Trono, SVP of product, SunLink. "With a more streamlined design, we've eliminated the need for mul- tiple or expensive custom tools and install kits that can sometimes add another $10,000 to a project. Our redesigned slew arm can be installed with standard tools, reducing the number of components, labor time and additional expenses." Feature enhancements like these may seem like small improvements, but the pay-off is big when you consider the reduction in labor, installation time and reducing your overall solar project cost. Updates strengthen the TechTrack design T he PHLEGON single-axis tracker from GP JOULE Canada Corp. passed a series of accelerated life- cycle tests conducted by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary. The Institute's Green Building Technology Lab and Demonstration Centre conf irmed PHLEGON's long-term reliability within a wide range of environmental conditions and proved its performance in extreme northern climates. SAIT's Accelerated Life Test Report shows that GP JOULE's active tracking technology provides proven results in the Northern Canadian and U.S. markets where fixed-tilt PV has been dominant. SAIT cycled PHLEGON's mechanical components continuously 7,305 times over a 19-day period to simulate two decades of functionalit y. PHLEGON initially underwent the tests without environmen- tal factors, and then went through another round that simulated extreme conditions including grit, freezing rain and sleet. The test included a deep freeze below -20C, confirming sensitive components function under extreme temperatures. "Freeze- thaw" tests mimicked the effects of spring and fall on the tracker, f looding moving parts with water before immediately exposing them to below-zero tempera- tures. The actuator, responsible for con- trolling and rotating the solar panels, completed both the mechanical and envi- ronmental rounds of testing — essentially 40 years without failure. "GP JOULE wanted SAIT to test two things. First, how the system will operate in Alberta's climate and second, what the cost of operating and maintaining the PHLEGON over a 20-year lifespan will be," says Tom Jackman, SAIT's principal investigator. "Our testing protocol intro- duced freezing conditions that were not considered in their original test plan, result- ing in substantial ice buildup and addi- tional weight. All components tested with- out failure." GP JOULE's single-axis tracker passes 20-year reliability test TRACKING TRACKERS GP JOULE

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