Backless solar trackers maximize yield for bifacial projects
In this special edition of Contractor’s Corner, manufacturer of solar trackers and scaffolding OMCO Solar discusses the company’s latest innovations in bifacial trackers. Below is a portion of the company’s Solar Spotlight podcast featuring: Solar Energy World, but be sure to listen to the full episode here or in your favorite podcast app.
How have OMCO’s trackers evolved in recent years?
We have both an ORIGIN monofacial tracker and an ORIGIN bifacial tracker. Our monofacial tracker is a one-in-portrait tracker and it is a high performance tracker in the sense that it goes all the way from 60° east to 60° west, and has very good back tracking capabilities.
The bifacial tracker is a two-in-landscape tracker, so the coupling tube does not go over the back of the modules. It’s completely open at the back so you optimize the amount of production from both the front and the back. You have a very uniform irradiation on the back and that is very important for all cells to get the same level of irradiation for long term performance.
What are the main differences between landscape and portrait trackers?
A one-in-portrait tracker is good for monofacial applications. You can do the two-in-portrait and that can be good for monofacial or bifacial, but it’s an expensive way of doing things. In a two-in-portrait, you have to place the torsion tubes very high, so the installation process usually involves ladders, which adds extra costs and can pose a safety risk.
The highest performance for bifacial is a two-in-landscape tracker. The torsion tube does not need to be particularly high and is thus relatively easy to install. We also look at the cord-to-height ratio – if you can get that ratio as low as possible, you’ll get more production in the back. Our ORIGIN bifacial tracker has a lower cord-to-height ratio than the two-in-portrait trackers on the market, so you can get more backside production.
What does your customer base think of this new product?
We knew people would like it, but we weren’t sure how much. For example, the higher degree of row-to-row shade protection – we wanted to make sure it was competitive, but we didn’t really know our customers would look at that level of detail as they were. Another example is the way the modules are threaded – the cabling from module to module. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on both aspects – customers say our Origin bifacial tracker is a really valuable offering.
Tell me about some projects currently using the ORIGIN bifacial tracker.
Our commercial activity has been very high since we offer this. We’ve gotten more orders than we’ve had for our trackers since we launched quite a few. We’re doing projects all over the United States and we’ll be doing more by the end of the year.
Will you bring this tracker to SPI this year?
Yes we will. It is a challenge to mount modules in the landscape configuration, but we are going to show exactly how we do it with a very unique solution: a foldable frame that makes installation very easy and keeps shipping costs minimal. SPI in New Orleans will be an opportunity for everyone to see for themselves how we are doing.
This podcast is sponsored by OMCO