Solar Spotlight: Backless solar trackers maximize yield for bifacial projects

In this special edition of Contractor’s Corner, solar tracker and racking manufacturer OMCO Solar discusses the company’s latest innovations in bifacial trackers. Below is a portion of the company’s Solar Spotlight podcast with Solar Power World, but be sure to listen to the full episode here or on your favorite podcast app. 

How have OMCO’s trackers evolved over the past couple of years?

We have both an ORIGIN monofacial tracker and an ORIGIN bifacial tracker. Our monofacial tracker is a one-in-portrait tracker and it’s 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 torque tube does not go over the back of the modules. It’s completely open on the back so that you optimize the amount of production from both the front and the back. You have very uniform irradiance on the back and that’s really important for all the cells to get the same level of irradiance 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 it two-in-portrait and, that can be good for monofacial or bifacial, but it’s a high-cost way to do things. In a two-in-portrait, you have to put the torque tubes really high, so the installation process usually involves ladders, which adds cost and can be a safety concern.

The highest performance for bifacial is a two-in-landscape tracker. The torque tube does not have to be especially high, so it’s relatively easy to install. We also look at the ratio between the cord and the height — if you can get that ratio to be as low as possible, you get more production on the back side. Our ORIGIN bifacial tracker has a lower ratio of cord-to-height 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 that people would like it, but we didn’t quite know how much. For instance, the higher degree of protection from row-to-row shading — we wanted to make sure that it was competitive, but we didn’t really know that our customers would be looking at that level of detail the way they have been. Another example is the way that the modules get strung — the cabling from module-to-module. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on both of these aspects — customers are saying our Origin bifacial tracker is a really valuable offering.

Tell me about some projects that are currently using the ORIGIN bifacial tracker.

Our commercial activity has been really high since we since we’ve been offering this. We’ve gotten more orders than we’ve had for our trackers since we launched by quite a bit. We’re doing projects all over the United States, and we’ll be doing more toward the end of the year.

Will you be bringing this tracker to SPI this year?

Yes, we will. It’s a challenge to mount modules in the landscape configuration, but we’re going to be showing exactly how we do it with a very unique solution — a folding frame that makes the installation very easy and keeps the shipping costs minimal. SPI in New Orleans will be an opportunity for everybody to see for themselves how we’re doing it.

This podcast is sponsored by OMCO

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