Enhancing Energy Performance
For solar projects requiring enhanced energy performance and DC capacity, the starting point should be a product that is efficient, robust and able to perform throughout the project lifetime. The next decision centers on the type of product that is essential for the project, the best system and the one that offers the most advantages. Sun Action Trackers offers the tools that allow their client to make the most of their project goals. From product installation and services to energy generation, Sun Action Trackers has developed a diverse energy portfolio that includes dual axis, single axis and fixed tilt mounting systems with competitive design advantages. Combining reliability and bankability, Sun Action Trackers has expanded its product line and services to offer solutions for utility-scale projects of any type. The most popular model currently is the PST-1AX6 – a single axis tracker delivering superior performance and flexibility. This tracker offers unlimited design capabilities, improved product installation and reduced costs. This article takes a closer look at the PST-1AX6 and discusses its design capabilities, performance and bankability.
Long lasting technology and easy installation
Starting with its design advantages, one dynamic feature of the PST-1AX6 is its high level of durability. Its core is entirely built using a self-healing product called Magnesium Alloy Coated steel (MAC steel), which is 5 to 10 times stronger than galvanised steel. The MAC steel is an incredibly strong alloy that prevents the risk of corrosion. During the construction phase, steel can run the risk of being scraped or damaged. One interesting aspect of MAC steel is that it self-heals thereby preventing any corrosion from damaging the tracker. The PST-1AX6 offers a unique installation process requiring fewer posts in the ground for the same number of modules, consequently reducing cost, time and labour. Its compact design can be installed in even the harshest conditions, thereby providing the flexibility required to achieve project goals.
Landscape orientation results
There are many forms of arranging modules on a tracker to obtain the highest level of energy production. But which is the most efficient? The PST-1AX6 is designed to hold its modules in a landscape orientation, but why? According to Daniel Wilson, Senior Electrical Engineer at Sun Action Trackers, “Geometrically speaking, because the PST-1AX6 mounts modules in landscape instead of a portrait, we are able to position 50% more modules in the same area. In addition this layout is better for shading. For instance, during the morning when there is shading to the east, only one out of 3 modules is affected, whereas with a portrait configuration all modules would be affected”. Wilson also explained that the PST-1AX6 uses approximately 30% less land, bringing costs down even more.
Less maintenance for less components
Another way that the PST-1AX6 outweighs its competition is in its ability to allow project owners to cut down on maintenance. The PST-1AX6 is one of the easiest to maintain. “This is because the PST-1AX6 is designed as a linked row tracker that allows each motor to move 324 modules. For competitors that use 80-row trackers this equates to 3 more controllers, sensors and motors than the PST-1AX6 for the same number of modules”, Wilson explains. “This not only saves time during the installation process, but it also saves on maintenance cost as there is less equipment to maintain for the next 25 years. These quantities stack up and add to your cost”. Sun Action Trackers has also created bearings made of friction-less plastic which never have to be greased or maintained during their lifetime.
The real time advantage
Thanks to its patented real time sensing technology, the PST-1AX6 follows the sun at its highest point of irradiance, regardless of the weather to provide the highest possible level of energy production. On a sunny day, real time sensing is perpendicular to the sun at any time of the day, capturing the maximum power, which increases energy production. Unlike astronomical tracking, this real time sensing technology does not waste energy. On days when there is no bright spot in the sky, the real time sensors will keep the PST-1AX6 in a stow or 0° “flat” position as all the irradiance comes from diffuse light. However on a partially cloudy day, the clouds create diffused light but there is also a direct beam component. Due to the contribution from diffused light, the optimal position of the tracker is not always directly facing the sun. An astronomical tracker will continuously move in line with its predetermined programming and not take any of the above into consideration. The benefit of real time is unbeatable and ideal for energy production.
Compared to a fixed tilt system, the PST-1AX6 single axis tracker delivers more energy generation. For example, a single axis tracker in Monterrey, Mexico guarantees 18% more energy generation than a comparable fixed tilt system. The added benefit of using the PST-1AX6 is that the same level of energy can be achieved with far fewer modules.