real time sensor

Community Solar Projected To Grow 50-80 Times By 2030

Community Solar Projected To Grow 50-80 Times By 2030

As solar energy components become more affordable, the alternative energy being produced is giving families, businesses and schools a way to lower energy bills and invest in America’s “New Energy Economy”.  A new report released by Greentech Media states that the emerging “community solar” segment could grow 50-80 times its current size by 2030.  Based on those numbers, the community solar market could raise up to $120 Billion in capital investments while serving up to 9 million new solar customers nationwide.

If community solar projects reach the suggested $120 Billion mark, it would surely play a significant role in the alternative energy mix nationwide, and as policy begins to be put into place, financing will become more readily available.

To Read Report CLICK HERE

Sun Action Trackers offers Single Axis Solar Trackers and Dual Axis Solar Trackers for Community Solar Projects to increase production and maximize profitability.  If you would like to learn more about how Sun Action Trackers product offering, please CLICK HERE.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Community, Dual Axis Tracker, Products, real time sensor, solar system benefits, solar tracking
Bi-Facial Panels on Sun Action Trackers

Bi-Facial Panels on Sun Action Trackers

With a number of current innovations in panel manufacturing along with lowered costs in the marketplace, bi-facial panels are starting to become a viable option for further increased production in solar arrays.  Bi-facial panels are expected to grow into a double digit share of solar panel sales within the year and tracker companies are scrambling to modify designs to fit this new opportunity.  With an average increase of 12.5%, many tracker companies have had to redesign their offering to support bi-facial panels to compete with this upcoming trend.

“With the help of our partners at Mission Solar Energy, we have been testing our Dual Axis Solar Trackers and Single Axis Solar Trackers for years with bi-facial solar modules, and have seen production increases in line with industry standards, and even higher in some cases.”

-Pete Lipscomb, Director of Business Development.

 

The most interesting statistic that most are not thinking of however, is the difference between Dual Axis Solar Trackers and Single Axis Solar Trackers.  With an increase of up to 25% between the two, the addition of bi-facial panels will make an even more significant impact.

The PST-2AL Dual Axis Solar Tracker has produced gains of up to 50% compared to fixed tilt systems with using bi-facial solar panels.  If you would like to learn more about how our Dual Axis Solar Tracker can utilize bi-facial solar technology, please CONTACT US for more information.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Dual Axis Tracker, Press Coverage, Products, real time sensor, solar system benefits, solar tracking, 0 comments
Rural Community Renewable Projects On The Rise Nationwide

Rural Community Renewable Projects On The Rise Nationwide

A recent report by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is showing significant growth in the rural electric cooperatives across the United States.  The growth can be attributed to lowered costs and greater infrastructure to support these projects, along with aid and partnership from the U.S. Department of Energy through SUNDA (Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration) initiative.

Since the 2013 partnership started, the initiative has grown from 30 MW installed capacity in 2013 to 868 MW installed in 2017.  Additionally, in 2013 the initiative began with just 17 rural coops and now includes just under half of the 900 rural coops nationally.  The installed capacity is set to cross the 1 GW threshold in 2018 or 2019 according to the report.

SUNDA has also given birth to new market segments such as community solar for low to medium income households, and military projects.  The initiative also provided planning and financial toolkits to aid rural community projects to move along smoothly, along with cost sharing programs.

Now The Projects Make Sense

The most important reason for the increase in rural community renewable projects is the drop in prices over the past years.  As per the NRECA report, installation costs per watt in 2014 was $4.50.  The average installation costs per the report today is less than $1.50, making these projects more financially appropriate.  Over this time, infrastructure was also being expanded and built to support such projects.

Funding for such projects is also much easier to find through non-profit organizations as well as fully backed financing resources such as Rural Utilities Service Loans and Rural Utility Cooperative Finance Loans.  Rural Electric Community Coops can also alight with tax equity partners to take advantage of incentives that are not normally available to non-profit entities.

Dual Axis Solar Tracking in Rural Community Renewable Coops

Sun Action Trackers is proud to provided our Dual Axis Solar Trackers all over North America for projects of all sizes in all types of weather conditions.  With up to a 40% increase in production compared to fixed tilt systems, our Dual Axis Solar Tracker will ensure that you are getting the most out of your project.  Each tracker also features our patented Real Time Sensing which provides a host of benefits, as well as our Magnesium Alloy Coated Steel, which is 5-10 time more resistant to harsh environments compared to galvanized steel.

If you are interested in how the Sun Action Trackers PST-2AL Dual Axis Solar Tracker can add value to your rural community renewable solar project, please CONTACT US for more information.

 

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Community, Dual Axis Tracker, Products, real time sensor, solar system benefits, solar tracking, 0 comments

Summer Heat Records Reach Pricing Maximum in Texas

The oppressive heat of a summer in Texas is hard to deny, but in that oppression lies great opportunity for solar production.  As the heat begins to rise, wind begins to slow making solar much more important to renewable initiatives across the state.

In the past two weeks, ERCOT has reported record breaking energy demands state wide matching the record breaking temperatures.  In the past week, they have set a new record peak energy demand of 5080 MW and with higher temperatures expected, that record could be easily broken as well.

This increased demand has driven prices up for solar energy to the maximum legal price statewide of $9.00/kWH (disregarding contractual Power Purchase Agreements) during midday peak pricing hours.

The rise in demand and pricing makes Texas a prime location for your solar project.  It is currently the 7th overall state of solar power installed, while it is the 4th largest market in 2017.  Texas also touts a heavily upgraded transmission system throughout the state.

Sun Action Trackers is proud to have installed over 400mW of Dual Axis Trackers which adds up to over 30,000 trackers statewide.  As demands peak, our Dual Axis Trackers are increasing production up to 40% through our patented Real Time Sensing, adding additional value to each of our projects in Texas.

If you would like to learn more about our Dual Axis Solar Trackers or our projects in Texas, please CONTACT US for more information.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Actuator, Community, components, Dual Axis Tracker, home news, Press Coverage, Products, real time sensor, 0 comments

Sun Action Trackers Carport and Canopy Introduction

Sun Action Trackers is pleased to now offer Canopy and Carport design, manufacturing, and installation.  This new product line features 3 separate fixed profiles and also a Dual Axis Solar Carport that can track the sun while providing shade.  Each project is custom designed to site specifications and with multiple profiles Sun Action Trackers offers the flexibility to maximize production.  If you would like to learn more about our Solar Carports and Canopies, please CLICK HERE to view our product sheet, or CONTACT US today for more information.

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Residential Solar Trackers by Sun Action Trackers

Residential Solar Trackers by Sun Action Trackers

Welcome to the DualTrack lineup of Dual Axis Solar Trackers

  Sun Action Trackers is proud to announce the DualTrack 16 and the DualTrack 24 Dual Axis Solar Trackers now available for residential use.  These residential solar trackers have been specifically engineered to meet the needs of homeowners all over the world and are ready to be shipped now!  Each DualTrack installation will still highlight our Real Time Sensing and MAC Steel and will generate up to 40% more power per day compared to rooftop systems.

The Most Versatile Options Available

Our DualTrack products have been built in 16, 20, and 24 panel arrays but can also be modified to fit any reasonable sized array up to 42 panels.  Our dual axis solar trackers have also been designed to accept EITHER 72 OR 60 CELL SOLAR PANELS.  This added flexibility insures that the DualTrack lineup can meet the needs of nearly any homesite.

Easy Installation and Setup

  The DualTrack product line was designed to optimize efficiency and ease of use to installers and owners alike.  Since the DualTrack products highlight Real Time Sensing, there is no calibration needed upon completion.  Once the system is turned on, it tracks to the sun immediately and continues for the lifetime of the solar tracker.  Each system includes racking, down post, control box, slew drive, actuator, and bolt cage for ground mounting.  Systems can be assembled in a day (once bolt cage is set), and can be installed with the use of a backhoe.

Learn More About the Most Versatile Solar Tracker Around

Our team would love to speak with you regarding how the DualTrack Dual Axis Solar Trackers can change the way you are thinking about residential solar installations.  Please feel free to CONTACT US for more information today!

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Actuator, Community, components, control box, Dual Axis Tracker, Press Coverage, Products, real time sensor, Residential Solar Trackers, slew drive, solar system benefits, solar tracking, 0 comments
Carefree Operations and Maintenance – Part 2 – Less Is More

Carefree Operations and Maintenance – Part 2 – Less Is More

Carefree Operations and Maintenance - Part 2 - Less is More

By Sun Action Trackers

In Part 1 of our Carefree Operations and Maintenance series, we discussed Land O&M and various solutions to lower costs and minimize financial risk, while maintaining an “eco-friendly” approach.  In Part 2 of our series, we will be discussing the complexity of system designs and how they affect your overall O&M costs over time.  There are a wide variety of issues to take into account when evaluating O&M costs during the lifecycle of your project.  These issues could include such variables as system design, environmental variables and materials used in the project.  In this article we will be focusing on System Design.

Keep it Simple Solar (KISS)

In previous articles, we have mentioned this approach which we have found to be most effective when tackling O&M costs over time.  By focusing on hyper-simple design, O&M costs of systems designed by major manufacturers are getting lower and lower as systems become more refined and efficient.  Though approaches vary widely, there are a number of innovative designs and options for your project.  Sun Action Trackers’ PST-1AX6 Single Axis Solar Tracking solution highlights a number of innovative additions to lower O&M costs initially and for the lifecycle of the project.

Linked vs. Independent Row Designs

Linked Row Solar Arrays or “centralized tracker designs” move multiple rows of solar trackers with a single motor or actuator, whereas Independent Row or “decentralized tracker designs” require 1 motor or actuator per row.  Though the decentralized tracker designs offer some flexibility for land usage, the centralized tracker systems are much more efficient with 25% of the moving parts than its counterpart.  Less moving parts lowers the potential for system failures, while also requiring less time to maintain the system overall.  In many cases, linked row systems will also require “leveling” of each row to allow the systems to work.  The Sun Action Trackers’ PST-1AX6 single axis solar tracker however does not require grading or leveling to make our system work properly.

Figure A

Replaceable Parts

Linked row and independent row systems also differ greatly in the number of motors that are needed to make the entire system.  Figure A highlights an 800Mw project using 8 actuators to run the entire system vs. 28 motors on the independent system as each row requires its own powered motor.   Each row also requires its own control box and sensor opposed to the linked row system that uses 1 control box and sensor for every 6 rows. This means a significant increase of energy usage to use the tracker system, and more moving parts to replace and fix moving down the road.  As another question, Which do you think would require more operations and maintenance attention?  1 actuator and 1 sensor, or 6 motors and 6 sensors?

Figure B

Ground Mounting

Even before tracker construction can begin, the pilings must be poured and secured before steel construction can begin.  Figure B illustrates linked row systems vs. independent row systems.  As you can see, the linked row system only requires 48 pilings per 100 Kw compared to 56 for the independent row system.  This makes a difference in future foundation maintenance and installation time.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to single axis solar tracking: Simple is King.  By limiting replaceable parts that could potentially fail during design and engineering, you will ultimately lower your Operations and Maintenance costs across the board.  Minimizing points of failure is going to lead to a system that consumes less energy thus maximizing total production of the system.  If you want to make your project more efficient, KEEP IT SIMPLE SOLAR.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Actuator, component, components, control box, Products, real time sensor, single axis solar tracker, solar tracking, 0 comments
O&M Comparison on Fixed Tilt vs. Single Axis

O&M Comparison on Fixed Tilt vs. Single Axis

O&M Comparison on Fixed Tilt vs. Single Axis

By Sun Action Trackers

In this short overview, we will be discussing the Operations and Maintenance cost difference between Single Axis Solar Trackers, and Fixed Tilt Solar Array Solutions.  First and foremost, there is not a defined answer to many of the questions surrounding the upkeep time and costs since each system is different, just as each project site is different and so on.  Rather than take a generalized position on these topics, Sun Action Trackers understands that each and every single axis tracker solution that is installed is absolutely unique in and of itself.  In many situations, single axis solar trackers will be the solution that will best fit the project, while dual axis solar trackers may be of better use in other scenarios.  Let’s take a look at some of the hard-pressing questions that surround this area of conversation.

We were recently working with a Developer that asked if the increased O&M costs on a single axis solar tracker were offset by the performance of the array.  In this particular deployment, the answer was yes, making the additional cost justified.  There are a number of factors that are in play in any development project that need to be noted as well.  Some of these factors are:

  • Geography and Topography – Site design
  • Location – level of irradiant light, snow, etc.
  • PPA – How much are they receiving per KWh, MWh, etc.
  • Time Sensitive Matters – Current price of Steel, Copper, and other commodities

In this Developer’s case, it made sound financial sense to opt for the single axis solar tracker system rather than fixed tilt due to the increase in productivity vs. cost to operate and maintain the system.  This then raised another major question being discussed industry wide at this point.  Centralized or Decentralized Movement Systems?  This refers to whether or not each row is joined by linkage or whether each row moves independently of one another.

There are two major sides to this part of the conversation, which are both significant.  Sun Action Trackers offers a linked row system in our PST-1AX6 single axis solar trackers.  This eliminates a large percentage of moving and electro-mechanical parts in comparison to “decentralized” system designs.  By lowering the moving parts, it creates a more stable and efficient system.  This is achieved by linking 6 rows to a single link rod that pushes all 6 rows in unison.  That means 1 actuator motor can run 324 solar panels to track the sun simultaneously.  In comparison, decentralized systems use multiple sets of sensors, separate control boxes and multiple motors which create exponential opportunity for failure.  These “decentralized” systems could also take as many as 4 times the slew or actuators drive motors, sensors and control boxes, to achieve the same output as its centralized counterpart.  As you can imagine, the centralized single axis solar tracker solution offers greater dependability due to less electro-mechanical parts, leading to less potential for breakdown.  With less electro-mechanical parts and motors, centralized single axis trackers will also be easier to find pieces and parts for moving forward since they are built out of mostly existing parts, as compared to some decentralized solutions that offer complex circuitry multiplied by the number of rows installed.   Over time, this will also drive the O&M costs down as the solar industry continues to grow in adoption rates, and investors are more comfortable with this cutting-edge technology.  Innovation will also play a major role as single axis solar tracker systems become even more efficient and streamlined.

With all of that being said, we believe in the application of the KISS METHOD when it comes to single axis solar trackers.  KEEP IT SIMPLE SOLAR.  Less means more.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Actuator, component, Dual Axis Tracker, Products, real time sensor, Residential Solar Trackers, slew drive, solar system benefits, solar tracking, 0 comments
Dual Axis Residential Tracker Dealer Profile : Howard “Scot” Arey – Solar CenTex

Dual Axis Residential Tracker Dealer Profile : Howard “Scot” Arey – Solar CenTex

Dual Axis Residential Tracker Dealer Profile : Howard "Scot" Arey - Solar CenTex

By Sun Action Trackers

Sun Action Trackers would like to welcome Solar CenTex to our list of Authorized Dual Axis Residential Solar Trackers Dealer Network.  Howard “Scot” Arey, President and founder of Solar CenTex, has been an advocate for Solar Energy collection in Texas for many years, as he resided as a Chair on the Board of Directors of the Texas Solar Energy Society, and as Executive Vice President at Nexolon America, after 25 years of service in the United States Army, eventually retiring as a Colonel in 2013.  Scot has installed more than a few Dual Axis Solar Trackers from Sun Action Trackers and continues to adopt and champion our mission to increase solar output through engineering and innovation.

“The first time I saw this technology was at Solar Power International two years ago, and visually it was stunning.  In the case of SPI, it was even a moving display and when people see it, it is impressive.   In Texas we have a lot of ranches and a lot of space, and I always tell folks, this is the coolest way to have solar, but more importantly from our end, it is easy to recognize that this is the most value and effective way to put solar in.”

Solar CenTex has installed over a dozen of the Dual Axis Solar Trackers in various places in and around Waco and San Angelo Texas, on ranches and larger properties in the area.  During a particular installation, he was also able to run two separate interconnection points off of the same Dual Axis Solar Tracker.  He also plans to run a battery system to create the first “off-grid” or “microgrid” scenario for a Dual Axis Solar Tracker in the residential space.  When asked “Why Sun Action Trackers?”  He replied:

“It just makes so much sense.  If you don’t have such a great solar resource as we have here in Texas, solar production really matters, and you have to do whatever you can to maximize production yield.  The team as Sun Action Trackers is committed to a great product, and support, and they want you to be very successful.”

We would like to thank Scot and the whole team at Solar CenTex for believing in our solution as much as we do.  If you would like to know more information about Solar CenTex please click HERE, and if you would like to know more about our Dual Axis Solar Tracker solution for residential use, please feel free to CLICK HERE for more information.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Community, Dual Axis Tracker, home news, real time sensor, Residential Solar Trackers, solar tracking, 0 comments
Simplicity in Solar: Tracking Options Made Easy

Simplicity in Solar: Tracking Options Made Easy

Simplicity in Solar: Tracking Options Made Easy

By Sun Action Trackers

Fixed Tilt Solar Solutions

Fixed tilt, or Non-tracking systems have long since been around and have until recently been the standard installation choice for developers and EPCs alike.  Many adopted this choice due to the cost difference in tracking solutions vs. fixed tilt solutions and the profitability of the installation consequently.  Fixed tilt systems offer some installation advantages, as they can be used in more difficult/ challenging  terrain. Historically, fixed tilt systems are also more adaptable to harsher environments due to lack of moving parts.

Solar Tracking Solutions

Tracking solutions for solar energy collection started to be introduced since the inception of solar, but much like other areas of alternative energy production, the technology was highly expensive and sometimes unreliable.  In comparison to the fixed axis solutions, tracking will produce up to 20%-45% more energy than its non-tracked counterparts, while now finally making sense financially due to cost reductions and rising adoption rates of the technology. Tracked solutions also offer a reduction in D/C capacity which allows for a reduction in BOS, Modules, and additional racking, getting better performance than their fixed counterparts.  In a late 2016 report, GTM Research estimates that tracking solutions will grow from roughly 20% this year to nearly 50% by 2021.  Tracking solutions continue to evolve as well into two sub categories:

Single Axis Tracking

As the name implies, this is a tracking solution with a single hinged axis to track the sun East to West.  This option requires a North-South alignment to maximize the sun’s energy throughout the day.  Compared to a fixed tilt system, there have been various increases shown ranging from 17-23% depending on the latitude and irradiance of the system.

Dual Axis Tracking

Though Dual Axis tracking has been around essentially as long as its Single Axis relative, it has been often overlooked as the most valuable of options when dealing with utility grade projects.  The Alamo Projects in Texas are a great example of this, as there are over 40,000 Dual Axis Trackers in operation today.  This large-scale adoption has led to expansive growth in this market as well, with suited applications in more diverse weather conditions.

In Closing

Fixed tilt and Tracking solutions will both have a place in solar energy generation in the future.  As the technology advances and performance increases, tracking solutions will become the standard for solar energy generation due to higher efficiency and a justifiable cost increase.

We hope you have enjoyed reading our second installment of Simplicity in Solar.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to CONTACT US today for more information on our Solar Energy Tracking Solutions.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting, 0 comments
A Personal View : Simplicity in Solar

A Personal View : Simplicity in Solar

A Personal View: Simplicity in Solar

By Daniel Wilson, Senior Electrical Engineer at Sun Action Trackers

When I was younger and pondering the idea of going to school for engineering, I asked a very successful engineer what I should expect to learn from studying engineering at university. I expected something along the line of “you will be able to fix cars after you graduate” or “you will be better at math”. Instead he told me that I would see the world through a new set of eyes. It wasn’t until I graduated university that I understood what he meant. With fresh new eyes, I now saw the world through the laws of physics, cause/effect and that the most robust solutions are usually the simplest. A simple solution is by no means inferior, rather it simply accomplishes the same task as a complex solution, but in a more efficient way.

At Sun Action Trackers, we know that simplicity in PV tracker design is essential, as these systems will be operating continuously, outdoors for 25+ years. Our Single and Dual Axis trackers all utilize our patented Real-Time Sensor technology that searches the sky for the maximum point of irradiance. Why blindly follow the sun with a program that doesn’t even consider the fact that clouds are between the tracker and the sun, when you could just simply rotate where the energy is actually at? Real-Time sensing is simpler, gives you higher generation, and doesn’t ever need to be calibrated. Trackers have to move, so some type of bearing is integral to the system. Once again, in the spirit of making things simple through ingenuity, we have designed flexible bearings that can account for post misalignment and require zero O&M greasing for the entire life of the project.

All of our trackers utilize low voltage DC motors that are readily available. I have worked for a tracking company that uses hydraulic actuation instead, and I don’t miss having to search for pin-hole leaks on 100ft. long cables, praying that the leak isn’t occurring underground if I can’t find it the first pass. I also don’t miss maintaining pumps, changing the oil, replacing clogged pistons, lines that were never bled properly, or wildlife that somehow makes its way through the an 8ft. fence just to chew on the hydraulic lines. Our Single Axis tracker houses 4x more modules than the leading competitor. This means 4x less control boxes, sensors and motors that need to be maintained over the course of 25+ years. Additionally, our UL3703 certified Single Axis tracker can electrically bond over 320 modules within its structure so that you have 4x less grounding electrodes to worry about installing than with the leading 80-module tracker.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Actuator, component, components, Products, real time sensor, slew drive, solar system benefits, solar tracking, staff team, 0 comments
Texas Solar Power Shines Strong

Texas Solar Power Shines Strong

In the News: Texas Solar Power Shines Strong

Via Paul MacDonald, Alternative Energy Magazine

While Texas has been hit by the decline in oil prices, the state has also recently been home to some large-scale solar power developments, including the 118-MW Alamo 5 project built by ConEdison Development and Mortenson Construction to supply CPS Energy.

It seems that as the bottom fell out of the market for oil, solar power is taking off in the state of Texas.

In recent years, the price of oil has fallen off a cliff—it hit a peak of $140 a barrel in 2008, but more recently has been trading around $50, after being as low as $26 a barrel early in 2016. Read more

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in home news, Press Coverage, real time sensor, solar tracking, 0 comments
9 Interesting Facts about Solar Power

9 Interesting Facts about Solar Power

9 Interesting Facts about Solar Power

by Sun Action Trackers

The use of solar power for homes and business is on the rise, but how much do you know about it? While most people know that solar power energy comes from the sun, here are some fascinating and lesser known facts about it.

  1. Solar energy ranks number one when it comes to the biggest energy resource on the planet. The earth receives 173,000 terawatts of power from the sun on a regular basis, making it the most abundant source of energy in the world.
  2. Solar energy isn’t just used to generate electricity for homes and businesses. Photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, can also be used to produce power for portable devices, such as phone chargers and calculators.
  3. The space industry adopted the use of solar power back in the 1960s. This energy source was used to generate power on spacecrafts, including satellites.
  4. Ancient Greeks and Romans made use of solar energy to heat their homes and provide light by including windows that faced south. Other ancient civilizations also used the sun’s rays for heating.
  5. Solar panels have been around since the 1950s, but they weren’t used in homes or businessess back then. Now, solar panels provide energy for many homes and businesses around the world.
  6. Solar tracking systems utilize many forms of obtaining energy from the sun. A beneficial way is by using Real-Time Sensors, which help guide solar trackers to “track” the sun. They also help eliminate electricity loss by positioning the trackers in a “flat” position during a cloudy day.

7. Solar power can be used to provide homes and businesses with hot water, in addition to generating electricity. This helps property owners enjoy even greater utility savings while also lowering their carbon footprint.

8. Solar energy can be used to treat waste water, which cuts down on the use of chemicals or electricity for this same purpose.

9. Solar panels might look smooth from a distance, but they’re made up of tons of solar cells. These photovoltaic cells gather sunlight and convert it into electricity for homes and business owners to use for power, heat and other purposes.

Fore more information on solar trackers, please visit Sun Action Trackers. Our company uses the latest solar technology to manufacture solar tracking systems.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in real time sensor, solar tracking, 0 comments