Edisun Microgrids, a company created at Idealab, has launched an entirely new tracker concept called the PV Booster. This would be the only dual-axis solar tracker designed and built for the commercial and industrial rooftop sector. Edisun says PV Booster’s technology yields 20 percent better solar rooftop economics than conventional fixed-tilt installations. Profitable rooftop projects can now show an even more significant return. Other projects, once unbankable, could now be economically feasible.
Tracking systems dominate the ground mount market, and almost 90 percent of all systems now include trackers because of the strong economic benefits. In contrast, the rooftop market has not been able to take advantage of trackers previously because of weight, size, mounting and wind issues. For the first time in the industry, PV Booster solves all four of those issues, allowing the commercial rooftop market to gain all the advantages of tracking energy boost.
See it for yourself at Solar Power International, booth W811.
By continuously facing solar modules toward the sun, PV Booster increases the energy production by 30 percent versus conventional fixed-tilt installations. This significantly enhanced performance decreases installation payback by as much as two years and increases Internal Rate of Return by two points, the company says. Additionally, levelized cost of energy may be lowered by $0.02 per kWh. PV Booster also provides unique value to utility customers that are subject to escalating time-of-day grid pricing. The tracker captures more energy on the shoulders of the day when time-of-use rates are the highest. Those gains reduce time-of-use charges (peak), allowing those customers to achieve even stronger financial returns.
“Although solar costs have dropped dramatically in recent years, rooftop tracking installations have remained both logistically and economically unrealistic for commercial facilities – until now,” said Bill Gross, chief executive officer, Edisun Microgrids, Inc. and founder, Idealab. “PV Booster is the first technology to bring the proven economic benefits of solar trackers from the ground to the rooftop, enhancing returns as well as opening the market to a large and underserved customer base.”
PV Booster is designed for simple, fast installation and features a gearless, lightweight design that keeps operations and maintenance costs low over the lifetime of the system. The technology has a low wind profile and its embedded intelligence automatically retracts modules at night and during periods of high wind. The trackers are powered by a brushless, low-voltage motor that consumes less than 0.01 percent of the total installation energy generated and uses a reliable battery backup unit to maintain operations when grid interruptions occur.