The new Schletter tracking system stability is provided in part by a patent pending locking mechanism, that better resists the so-called “galloping effect” that wind can produce on long arrays. As a result of the locking mechanism on each post, the tracker is as stable as a fixed-mount solar installation, the company says.
Most other tracking systems use hydraulic dampers or similar supporting structures to mitigate galloping, caused by a combination of the vibrations and torsional forces on the central torque tube caused by the wind. “The self-locking mechanism avoids dynamic effects much better than any other tracker in the market,” Salzeder says.
While at rest, it has the properties and durability of a fixed mounting system and is designed to withstand wind speeds of up to 161 mph, Schletter says. According to the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, for a wind to be classified as a Category 1 hurricane, it must have one-minute maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph. The highest classification in the scale, Category 5, consists of storms with sustained winds over 156 mph.
The new tracker design also features more solar panels per motor than any other competing system, which increases the ground cover ratio, the company says. This feature is achieved through its large wingspan and ground cover ratio. Each row can be up to 393-ft long and is driven by one centrally-located motor. At 13 ft in width, each row is wide enough to hold either two panels oriented vertically or four horizontally, so that up to 574 square yards of solar array can be installed per row and motor. The capability allows developers to make optimal use of the available land, with a ground cover ratio of more than 50%, the company says.
The new tracker also will be sold in the United States since the company’s Shelby, NC unit was reorganized. “North America is a key market for our international group of companies,” said Florian Roos, the Group CEO, in a December statement. “We will go on building a strong presence here and market the entire range of our innovative and durable mounting solutions. This is especially true for our new and innovative tracker system which is as stable as a fixed tilt and was developed specifically with the North American market in mind.”