The Sigma Tracker System: An Interview
Interview with Mihir Saoji, Product Manager Tracker
A solar tracking system is a photovoltaic system that optimizes the angle of incidence between the sunlight on the PV module by automatically following the course of the sun. This, in return, increases the amount of energy produced. In recent years, the improvement of technologies, performance, and pricing of tracker systems has led to a surge in the amount of installed tracker capacity in utility-scale ground mount projects. In order to create a better understanding of the features and benefits of our new Sigma Tracker system and the differences in comparison to fixed-tilt ground mount systems, we carried out an interview with our Product Manager, Mihir Saoji, who knows the system inside out.
What are the main differences between the tracker and the fixed-tilt systems?
A fixed system, which stands put in a “fixed” position, has a characteristic of providing a peak power output at a specific time of the day, whereas a tracker system tracks the sun and provides a stable output over a longer period of time. This is often the more advantageous solution in terms of grid utilization. Furthermore, a tracking system can increase the energy production by up to 30 % in comparison to a fixed-tilt system depending on various factors, such as the project location and configuration.
What are the main benefits of the tracker system of Mounting Systems?
The self-locking ability, which the scissor-jack mechanism provides, is the key and differentiating feature of the Sigma Tracker. It provides static and dynamic stability even under harsh environmental conditions, which helps to achieve high structural reliability of the tracker – in all positions. Extreme weather conditions can thus be sustained easily, which in turn guarantees the reliability and therefore bankability of the system. Moreover, preassembled components and standard fixation elements greatly improve the assembly time of the system with minimal tool requirements. Another great benefit is the bifacial compatibility of the Sigma Tracker, which is achieved by avoiding any shadowing behind the active module areas. All mono- and bifacial module configurations are possible in portrait and landscape, and this makes our tracker system flexible for a wide range of requirements.
For which kinds of projects is the tracker system of Mounting Systems best suitable? What kinds of natural surroundings and weather conditions can it withstand?
The system is suitable for ground-mounted projects of any size and for various natural surroundings. We have for instance delivered the tracker systems for one of the biggest solar parks of the world in Egypt. The park is located in the middle of a sandy desert, which is of course quite an interesting but challenging place for a solar park.
Is there one tracker system for every project, or if not, how easily can the system be adapted to customers’ needs?
The core components of the system remain always the same, but as projects have different requirements, we can adjust the system to a great extent very easily. For example, different foundations, height and length of the system, module configuration and module fastening are some factors that can be adjusted based on customer requirements.
As we all know, bifacial solar systems have become extremely popular in recent years. You already mentioned bifaciality as one of the benefit of the system, so this means that bifacial modules can be used with the tracker system as well?
Absolutely. We have been following the trend and our Sigma Tracker is a fully bifacial optimized system for minimized shadowing of the modules and maximized bifacial gain.
What are the possibilities in monitoring Sigma Tracker solar park? What can you tell about O&M features of the system?
Our unique Sigma View® control system is based on robust industrial automation components, which are readily available off the shelf. A central data logging system provides a real time overview of the solar park. Added user functionalities error logging, data plotting and journaling of O&M activities makes the monitoring system a holistic tool for the personnel on site. Also, due to a flexible data interface, the integration with any kind of SCADA systems is seamless, making the park monitoring easy and effortless.
Mounting Systems – More than a system. It’s a brand.