FTC Solar to unveil new solar tracker technology at RE+ in Anaheim – pv magazine USA

The new self-powered 1P solar tracking system requires fewer foundations and enables greater energy output.
Pioneer solar tracker.
Image: FTC
With a 500 MW agreement already inked for multiple projects using its new Pioneer tracker, FTC Solar, Inc. is about to unveil the one module in portrait (1P) solar tracker solution during the annual RE+ event on September 19 to 22 in Anaheim, Calif.
“Pioneer achieves a full 18%-36% pile count reduction per megawatt vs. the current industry-leading solutions by volume,” said Nagendra Cherukupalli, chief technology officer of FTC Solar, “allowing customers to benefit from reduced labor and materials costs. And with a high-density design, Pioneer enables up to 5% greater energy output for the same site compared to the competition, among numerous other advantages.”
The company said one of the advantages of Pioneer’s proprietary design is that it can reduce piles by 18% or more. It also features shorter row length that reportedly enables more than 5% greater energy output for a given parcel of land, and zero-degree stow allows for shorter pile embedment depth.
Designed for utility-scale installations, the Pioneer accommodates 550 W and 600 W wide-format modules. In addition, the company said no Torque Tube (TT) dimpling or through-bolts are required to index the module to the TT, allowing for module changes and retrofits. Pioneer supports all module factors, including those over 2.4 meters in length.
The tracker will operate independently from the grid during outages and is self-powered with a high-energy battery for up to three days. It also has a high slope tolerance that includes 17.5% north-south tracker row allowance.
Pioneer has undergone rigorous wind tunnel testing by an independent engineering firm RWDI to assure structural and torsional stability in wind conditions up to 120 mph. In addition, Pioneer’s distinctive torque tube shape allows for longer spans, improved torsional rigidity, and positive alignment of components without the need for torque tube penetrations.
The 500 MW agreement, signed with Primoris Renewable Energy, stipulates that FTC will supply its solar tracker technology for multiple project sites in the United States. Primoris is expected to use the new Pioneer 1P tracker technology on multiple projects.
Founded in 2017, FTC Solar is based in Austin, Texas and provides its tracker systems around the world. The company posted 44% growth in 2021 and issued strong guidance for the year, estimating 62% revenue growth for 2022, which the company said would outpace the market. In March FTC announced the acquisition of emergent competitor HX Tracker, a China-based supplier of 1P trackers. FTC anticipated that the acquisition would bring growth in China, the Middle East, and Africa.
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