RUTE aims to grow agrivoltaics market with ‘cable-stayed’ Suntracker

RUTE Suntracker

Agrivoltaics, farming or ranching under solar panels, has been gaining traction around the world as prime solar land becomes more scarce. An agrivoltaics array is typically raised above 8-ft to allow agriculture to continue underneath, providing revenue from solar while keeping the original use of the land. Extensive research has shown that partial shade has a net positive effect on agriculture yield.

As a result though, agrivoltaics can carry 2-3 times the structural cost of conventional solar.

“Despite being beneficial for the landowner, agrivoltaics has historically been a difficult sell for the developer,” said Doug Krause, President, RUTE Foundation Systems. “Now that we have a system with attractive economics to all stakeholders, we expect dual-use utility scale agrivoltaics to grow exponentially”

With its lower cost and the additional revenue from tracking, the RUTE Suntracker is being pitched as an agrivoltaic-focused system that achieves a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) competitive with conventional solar.

Key to removing costs from the equation is its cable-stayed structure.

Like a cable suspension bridge, up to 25% less steel is needed. RUTE SUNTRACKER also uses cables to rotate the panels to track the sun, providing up to 28% more electricity than fixed panels.

The RUTE Suntracker also requires no land bulldozing, so the land retains its original use without damage.

RUTE received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Business Oregon to build a pilot, and RUTE is now building its Proving Ground at the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center (OMIC R&D) in Scappoose, OR. OMIC R&D is a collaborative effort between industry, academia, and the government with the goal of driving applied solutions directly to the shop floor.

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