APS / TWO-AXIS HCPV SYSTEM
Problem / Opportunity:
High Concentrating Photovoltaic (HCPV) arrays require precise alignment to maintain efficiency. Just ½ degree of misalignment from normal to the sun can cause a loss of 50% of power collected by the high efficiency solar cells under the systems’ 250x concentrators.
The cost per Kilowatt hour was high and needed to be reduced to justify continued construction of these utility scale solar arrays.
Raytech engineers developed support structures with reduced weight for the original 4 panel array, and developed five and seven panel arrays with lighter, stiffer support structures and ever smaller backlash.
The five-panel, two-axis Solar Tracker at Glendale Airport was the first commercial installation of a large two-axis tracking HCPV system.
The seven panel HCPV system installed at the APS Star Center, and later in Prescott and other locations around Arizona and surrounding states incorporates a patented, true zero backlash system developed by Raytech’s mechanical engineering staff.
The systems are engineered for precision, high reliability, and low production and maintenance costs.
This tracker is just one project of many in which Raytech has contributed to clean energy system design, and is pleased to work on structural design and analysis for the solar industry in Arizona and around the world.
The APS Multi-Axis Solar Tracker is currently adding solar-generated power across Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, and as far as Spain.
Raytech Corporation was originally contracted to redesign the platform for the for casting. While designing a lower cost cast solution, Raytech’s engineering team helped lower the cost further and saved more cost and time by showing that fabrication of the new design cost even less than casting. Raytech’s involvement grew to other areas of the frame.
Raytech’s involvement was expanded to redesign the entire support structure for reduced weight and cost, mechanical design for mounting, transport, and assembly, and to design more accurate drive mechanisms, including a true zero backlash mechanism, as well as hydraulic systems. Raytech’s engineering support on this project included analysis [including stress, wind load, failure mode and effect] and documentation.
Raytech’s engineering team worked with APS engineers to help with vendor qualification and selection, production support, supply chain management, and fabrication logistics, as well as presentation graphics and animations for public and internal promotion.
The first units of the 4MM, 5MM and 7MM were fabricated with support by Raytech personnel working closely with the client and with vendors. Changes and unique installation circumstances are analyzed by Raytech’s engineers prior to implementation and documented in the fabrication package for inclusion in future units.