SolarWorld debuts next-generation single-axis tracker at Intersolar

SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, will launch the next-generation of its single-axis tracker, Suntrac®, this week at the trade show Intersolar North America in San Francisco. Designed to streamline installation costs and improve mechanical reliability for utility-scale solar installations, the solar tracker can boost a system’s electricity production by up to 21 percent, compared with static ground-mount racking. Suntrac has already been specified for 26 megawatts of utility-scale projects in California.

“Suntrac expands upon SolarWorld’s legacy of quality and performance-driven innovation”

The U.S. manufactured tracker can be custom-configured for solar projects of more than 500 kilowatts. Easy, low-cost installation and minimal maintenance requirements distinguish Suntrac from other solar trackers on the market. Suntrac requires no welding or fabrication in the field and accommodates various uneven terrains. In addition, it is designed to allow groups of solar panels to be joined or “panelized” offsite, further reducing field labor expenses. With few moving parts, dry, low-friction bearings, and an electric, rather than hydraulic, actuator, Suntrac also boasts some of the industry’s lowest ongoing operation and maintenance costs.

Since the 1980s, SolarWorld has designed and manufactured customized tracking for large-scale solar installations. In 1993, the company built the first grid-tied single-axis tracker system for Pacific Gas and Electric’s 500-kilowatt Kerman Substation in Fresno, Calif. In 2005, SolarWorld launched the first-generation Suntrac and installed it in the Semitropic Water Storage District’s 979-kilowatt solar farm in Wasco, Calif. The new-generation Suntrac, expected to be installed this year at solar developments in Southern California and the Bay Area, enhances the tracker’s construction and maintenance profile, cutting the total cost of power production by about 10 percent over the life of a project, when compared with fixed-tilt systems.

“Suntrac expands upon SolarWorld’s legacy of quality and performance-driven innovation,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “It offers owners of utility-scale solar projects a reliable, cost-effective, low-maintenance solution for maximizing their power generating potential.”

SolarWorld Senior Systems Integration Engineer Doug King, certified manufacturing engineer and lead developer of Suntrac, will speak on the value of single-axis tracker technology during this year’s Intersolar Conference in a session titled “Does a Tracker Still Make Sense” at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, from the Innovation Exchange Stage in the Moscone Center’s West Hall, Level 3, on the Exhibition Floor.