Residential Solar Trackers

Rooftop vs. Ground Mount Residential Solar Comparison

Rooftop vs. Ground Mount Residential Solar Comparison

                In this article we will be discussing the main differences and possibilities of rooftop and ground mounted solar in residential installations.  There are a number of variables that are in play in either scenario, and being educated on differences and possible issues you can make a better decision when you choose to make the move to solar.  Both installation types have ideal applications but we are going to show you why more and more people are choosing ground mounted solutions for their property.

 

The most widely recognized version of Solar Energy Production

 

Almost everyone has a friend or neighbor that has shown interest in, and has installed some type of solar array on their roof.  They are undoubtedly proud of what they have added to their home and often gloat about energy savings and helping the environment.  They are indeed doing that, and in the past 20 years, they would have made a great decision, but is it the right decision today?  After almost 2 decades of system decay and advancement in technology, what was once the most widely viewed and recognized application of solar is now becoming obsolete in many cases.

 

Keep It Simple Solar

 

The basic idea behind rooftop solar installations is rather straight forward.  Use a roof that is adjacent to the sun, drill holes in it to install racking, and install panels to racking.  This often requires that the roof is facing east/west so that it will be facing the sun’s path over the course of the day.  Any deviation from the perfect east/west orientation will lead to loss of potential energy production in the installation.  Often times as well, there may be some shading in the way of trees, which would also deplete the energy production opportunity of the array.  This means that the same trees that the homeowner relies on to keep the home cooler are hindering the solar potential of the property.

 

Key Issues with Rooftop Solar

 

                Environmental issues such as the ones described above are often times out of the control of the homeowner or are not thought of when purchasing the home.  There are however, a number of key issues with rooftop solar that are at the complete control of the homeowner.  These issues are sometimes immediate, while others are experienced years down the road.

 

Unfit or Unsuitable Roof

 

When many homes were built over the years, they were never built with the intention of putting thousands of pounds of racking and solar panels on it.  Also, coding and building regulations have become increasingly specific and strict over passing years, so it is quite possible that many older roofs are just simply not equipped to handle the load.  Miscalculation of the load levels of any roof could cause it to easily cave in.

 

Drilling Holes into the Roofing

 

There are obvious potential risks with drilling holes anywhere in your roof at any point.  If a roofer where to have to drill into the roofing, they would do it towards the end of a corner where risk of damage was minimal.  When rooftop solar is installed there are spaced holes drilled over the entire roof, weakening the substructure and creating unnecessary risk of leaking in the future.  If a leak develops it could be weeks, months or years before the owner discovers it to get it fixed.  Furthermore, it creates the risk of mold, electrical issues and a host of other risks that would cost a lot more money down the road.

 

Waterflow

 

As we all can understand, roofs are built with the intention of shedding water in specific directions but furthermore away from the home.  Rooftop solar racking hinders the flow of water in many cases and can cause it to collect in areas that were not intended at the time of the design of the roof.  This can cause a number of weaknesses in the structure and if paired with a drilled hole leaking could be catastrophic.

 

Reroofing

 

The average lifespan of a residential house roof is 20-30 years, after which the roofing material needs to be totally replaced.  This includes the weather matting as well as the roofing material.  If there is a solar array on top of the roofing material, then it will obviously need to be dismantled completely before the roofing replacement can even begin.  Also, roofers cannot dismantle solar systems because the are not NABCEP certified contactors, so you will have to call a solar company to come take it down, and replace it again after the roof has been replace.

 

 

New Technology Leads to New Solutions

In the past years, solar technology has exponentially increased and with the development of solar trackers, production increases have reached up to 40%.  Solar Trackers were originally designed for extreme latitudes (furthest from the equator) and were primarily used in the Utility and Commercial/Industrial markets.  In even more recent years, these technologies have been adapted for use in the residential market proving that ground mounted solar trackers could be a viable solution for homeowners.

 

Efficient Solutions for Possible Issues

 

                The use of ground mounted trackers, particularly Dual Axis Solar Trackers have solved a number of existing issues with solar adoption and how they compare with rooftop solar installation.  There are a host of issues that can commonly be alleviated by using a Sun Action Trackers’ DualTrack Dual Axis Solar Tracker.

No Roofing Issues

 

Since the DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Solar Tracker is ground mounted, you alleviate a number of the roofing issues such as potential leaking, weight issues, waterflow and reroofing issues.  The system is also easier to maintain since it is easier to access.

 

Limited Land Issues

 

The DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Solar Tracker boasts a number of benefits that allow for more flexible installation for your solar array.  One major benefit is the bolt cage (mounting system) is only 16” which is encased in a 36” Diameter concrete footer.  This means that you will only have to use about 16 sq ft of your property to mount up to 42- 72 cell solar panels.  The structure also provides shade and with a 12 foot down-post, you can be assured that anything that is and would be beneath it will not be disturbed.  The DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Tracker can also be installed within flood planes and swampy land to further add to its land usage flexibility.

 

Production Increase Increases Opportunity

 

Each DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Tracker is equipped with Sun Action Trackers’ patented Real Time Sensing devices to add 4-6% production compared to astronomical tracking systems, as well as up to 40% more energy collected due to the Dual Axis nature of its design compared to rooftop systems.  With the addition of bi-facial solar panels, you can even increase energy production by up to 60% compared to rooftop mounted solar installations.  Another impressive about the DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Solar Tracker is that it reaches peak production as soon as it finds the sun, and maintains that peak production until the sun goes down.  This means that you will be at peak performance before, during and after peak hours making the absolute most of TIME OF USE rates.  These production increases add significant value to the system overall and will return ROI faster for the homeowner ultimately.

 

 

A Complete Turnkey System

 

Each DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Tracker is a Turnkey System that is ready to be installed.   Every Tracker includes the Tracker Racking, Critical Components, Bolt Cage, Real Time Sensors and Control Box ready to be installed.  Each system can be installed with a telescopic forklift and a crew of 3-5 people.  Sun Action Trackers offers PE Stamps in all 50 states and can ship worldwide.

 

To Learn More about the DualTrack Dual Axis Residential Solar Tracker, please visit us at www.sat-energy.com or call us at 210-302-2141.

 

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Actuator, Community, control box, Dual Axis Tracker, Products, real time sensor, Residential Solar Trackers, solar tracking, 0 comments
Sun Action Trackers Named to Top Solar Tracker Providers Worldwide

Sun Action Trackers Named to Top Solar Tracker Providers Worldwide

In a recent set of reports on the Global PV Tracker marketplace, Sun Action Trackers was named as a key player in the Dual Axis Solar Tracker and Single Axis Solar Tracker markets.

The first report titled “Global Dual Axis Solar Tracker Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast” places Sun Action Trackers among the elite in the space, siting that in the past year the release of our DualTrack Dual Axis Solar Tracker lineup has opened a gap in the market since there is no other solution available that is able to support 24 panels.  Our PST-2AL Dual Axis Solar Tracker holds up to 42 – 72 cell solar panels, with other Dual Axis Solar Trackers holding 12 panels, there was no solution on the market to meet the need in the middle.  The report also highlights Sun Action Trackers as the leader in Utility and Commercial/Industrial installations in North America.

The second report is titled “Global PV Trackers Market Necessity, Current Trends and Future Growth 2018-2023“.  In this report, Sun Action Trackers is noted as a key player in both the Dual Axis Solar Tracker and Single Axis Solar Tracker markets.  The report also highlights the growing need for solar tracking technology in the future due to land usage restraints as well as the increased energy produced by tracking the sun.

We at Sun Action Trackers take great pride in our products and service in the Solar industry and we are so pleased to remain as one of the true innovators in our chosen space.  If you have any questions regarding our products or services, please feel free to CONTACT US today for more information.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in Community, components, Dual Axis Tracker, home news, Press Coverage, Products, real time sensor, Residential Solar Trackers, single axis solar tracker, solar events, solar system benefits, solar tracking, 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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Sun Action Trackers to Exhibit at Solar Power Texas

Sun Action Trackers to Exhibit at Solar Power Texas

Visit us in Booth 114 in Austin!

This week in Austin, Solar Power Texas will be taking place and Sun Action Trackers will be exhibiting our ALL NEW DualTrack product line focused on residential use.  Our new Dual Axis Residential Trackers are designed specifically for residential use with a smaller footprint and our patented Real Time Sensing and MAC Steel.

Solar Power Texas provides solar professionals the opportunity to get exclusive updates, network with other solar pros and to regional insights found nowhere else.  The event will host over 400 attendees and various influential figures of the solar community.  The event will be hosted at the Hyatt Regengy Lost Pines Resort & Spa tomorrow and Thursday.  We hope to see you there!

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in components, Press Coverage, Products, Residential Solar Trackers, solar events, solar tracking, staff team, 0 comments
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
Come See Sun Action Trackers at MIREC Week

Come See Sun Action Trackers at MIREC Week

Visit Us in Booth 59 at MIREC Week

Its that time of the year again, when Mexico and Central America converge on Mexico City for MIREC Week.  This week of renewable focus also hosts the Corporate and Industrial Energy Summit in conjunction with the exhibition.  Over 300 expert speakers will also be sharing insights with attendees and industry experts alike.  This year, MIREC Week will also be streamed live through 6 separate streams insuring that all insights will be documented.  There is also a host of networking and after conference events nightly to engage and foster connections in the solar industry.

Sun Action Trackers is proud to be an exhibitor at MIREC Week and we would love to meet you!  Please visit us in booth 59 for information regarding our new DUAL AXIS RESIDENTIAL models as well as our utility/commercial scalable Single Axis and Dual Axis Tracker offerings.  Our team is ready to speak with you about something that we are very passionate about, and we would love to show you what the future will hold for the solar industry.  More capable, More flexible, and More efficient.

Posted by Sun Action Trackers in component, control box, Press Coverage, Products, Residential Solar Trackers, single axis solar tracker, solar events, solar tracking, staff team
Carefree O&M – Part 1 – Count Your Sheep

Carefree O&M – Part 1 – Count Your Sheep

Carefree O&M - Part 1 - Count your Sheep

By Sun Action Trackers

As Operations and Maintenance becomes a hotter topic in the Solar and Solar Tracking industry, there has been many approaches to lower costs and minimize risk in the design and installation of solar farms.  There have been a wide variety of approaches in each area of solar farm O&M costs and savings.  In this article, we will discuss a practice that is becoming more common amongst utility scale solar farm developers across the country.

Options for Land Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

During the development of utility scale solar farms, there are so many operational parts in motion that if the land had not been graded and trampled, that it will be before the installation is done.  The sites are often left looking bare and lacking grass as the project installation heads near completion.  Not too far after however, mother nature takes over and grass starts growing and spreading quickly.  This creates the need for landscaping services and workers to maintain the acres and acres of property to ensure proper functionality of the system.

The Old Fashion Way

Many developers choose to periodically mow the property which takes multiple days and workers, while creating risks that need not be created.  Some of the inherent risks include but are not limited to:

  • Flying Objects – While mowing properties this vast, it is likely that at some point something will be struck by the mowers. This could be something natural such as a rock, or something left behind from development such as a nut or bolt.  This creates a risk to workers, but also to the solar farm itself, by cracking or shattering panels that then would need to be replaced.
  • Dust/Sand – Mowers also kick up quite a bit of dust no matter what the condition of the soil and property is. This sand and dust settles on the panels, making them less efficient and creates the need for the panels to be cleaned more frequently.

Though this method is widely adopted many developers are looking for alternative methods to lower O&M costs and to minimize financial risk on each project.

Genetically Modified Flora

One of these alternative methods is to plant “low growing grass” which has been genetically engineered to grow to a certain height and stop.  This method has proven to be effective in some areas, but the major drawback is weeds.  As the grass grows, weeds become an inevitable part of the landscape.  Since the weeds will never stop growing, this again creates the need for human intervention on a constant and continuous basis causing a hike in O&M costs. Another option in modifying the landscape is using herbicides and chemicals to keep the grass and weeds at bay.  This option works but it is contrary to the “eco-friendly” passion that renewable energy harvesting is based on.  Though this may be a viable solution, it creates risk to the environment and surrounding areas.

Keep it "Simple Solar" (KISS)

The simplest solution in solar is usually the best.  Systems are designed with minimal moving parts and are highly engineered to maximize efficiency and lower O&M costs.  Why wouldn’t you look for the simplest solution when it comes to land O&M costs?  Many solar farm developers from California, Texas, North and South Carolina and even Europe are adopting a simple and hyper-effective solution that is lowering land O&M costs and providing opportunities for the local economy and is completely eco-friendly.

Send in the Sheep

The aforementioned solution that has been adopted globally is the use of livestock, preferably sheep to maintain your land for you during the harvesting of your solar energy.  Sheep are low maintenance requiring only water and food, which is the growing grass in most solar farms.  States like California and North Carolina have widely adopted this solution and are showing incremental decreases in land O&M costs, while creating a thriving industry for farmers in the local economies surrounding their solar farms.  In North Carolina, there are sheep farmers that will even offer their flock for free for use at the solar farms in return for the free food that their flock consumes.

Environmentally and Financially Symbiotic Relationships

Not only is this method environmentally friendly, but it also creates more revenue through shared resources and legal loopholes.  In many states developers are charged an Energy Tax for the land usage, whereas agricultural land is not subject to the same taxing.  This creates a revenue increase from the partnership between farmer and developer.  It also saves the farmers money due to a seemingly unlimited food source.  The marriage between farmer and developer is truly a symbiotic one as both parties have much to gain, while also lowering costs on both sides.  On the environmental side, both parties are allowing nature to run its course while causing no harm to the land or the surrounding areas.  It also allows the developer to “cut the cord” of reliance on fossil fuels for land O&M, which we are sure that mother nature welcomes.

Not Just a Developer Farmer Relationship

Since the development of these relationships major brands have gotten involved bringing the process full circle.  Whole Foods, a national organic grocery market started selling “solar farm sheep” when it started selling lamb chops of sheep that had been exclusively raised on Solar Farms.  Sun Raised Farms is the name of the company that landed the opportunity with Whole Foods, providing their lamb chops exclusively for the nation’s healthiest supermarket.  The buying motivation for Whole Foods is that the sheep are essentially free range, raised organically in expansive open spaces.

Key Takeaways

Many of the solar farm developers in North America are beginning to use sheep to graze and maintain their solar farms.  The sheep are low cost and even free in some cases, creating a relationship between farmer and developer where everyone wins.  Financially it makes sense to use sheep as there are available tax breaks, unlimited food for the animals and no need to O&M risks by using machinery, human labor, and chemicals.  In Solar Energy Harvesting, simplicity is key to lowering O&M costs and minimizing risk.

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Community, home news, Products, Residential Solar Trackers, solar system benefits, 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
Scot Arey Interview – Dual Axis Residential Trackers

Scot Arey Interview – Dual Axis Residential Trackers

Scot Arey Interview - Dual Axis Residential Trackers

By Sun Action Trackers

We sat down with Scot Arey from Solar Cen Tex for a casual discussion about our Dual Axis Trackers in a residential installation.  Scot has installed more than a few of our trackers, and we thank him for his insight and perspective.

 

Posted by Jonathan Bunting in Community, Dual Axis Tracker, Products, Residential Solar Trackers, 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