A recently featured solar project details the installation of a massive dual-axis solar tracker on an estate in the city of Halifax, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
Faced with high electricity rates, Halifax estate owner Stephen Mildenberger tapped solar developer Aartha Group of Surrey, British Columbia to install a Mechatron M18KD gearless dual-axis tracker. The tracker hosts 90 Canadian Solar bifacial panels generating 390 Watts each, along with Hoymiles microinverters.
The bifacial panels will help capture the high reflected light albedo during the snow season.
“We’ve already seen a boost of about 20% from the bifacial panels, on top of the 35% gain the tracker provides compared to a fixed-tilt installation,” says Mildenberger.
The 35 kW of energy produced by the system will provide the vast majority of the electricity demand for the estate, including enough to operate an EV charging station. Excess electricity is sold to the utility under net metering.
“Canada has preposterous weather swings in terms of both temperature and wind, so it’s not easy to build out transmission and distribution networks. As a result, microgrids like this one are the most economic solution for the region,” says Jay Vaishnav, the vice president of Aartha Group.
“While other tracker technology hasn’t worked north of the 39th parallel, the Mechatron tracker, with its near-vertical positioning capability — enabling snow shedding — and very high reliability, is a perfect fit,” Vaishnav says.
“We considered various dual-axis designs that offered a variety of performance levels, but our final decision on Mechatron came down to reliability. Other manufacturers’ designs have elevated incidences of shattered gears when they are exposed to our low temperatures and high wind loads,” observes Vaishnav.