New Solar Tracker Company

I recently noticed what appears to be a new solar tracker company called NPG Energy Solutions. Their tracker is called Solar-azimuth and it appears to have many features that the other trackers I have looked at do not have. It also seems sheaper for what you get in better materials and features.

Anybody have more info on how you think other trackers measure up or the features of this one over the rest?

They also have a grid tied package that seems like an ineteresting option for those of us that want an easy complete system. Any feedback?

Thanks

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 7,970Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    not knowing a thing about it, I've seen that a lot of RE stuff coming from China, is junk, with a fresh coat of lead paint. Beware till some history is built on them.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    I have not found any pictures or design details on their website--but at ~$4-$7,000 for the tracker--according to their numbers, you can almost double the size of your array (at $5/watt of solar panel) if you do fixed mounting and save the money on the tracker.

    Depending on where you live--it does not look like the tracker will double your output--so do a very detailed cost comparison (plus maintenance costs for servo replacements--they don't seem to last all that many years) and see what works best for you.

    Their systems seem to run around $10/watt without installation--including panels and inverters--a regular Grid Tied fixed mount system is probably around ~$7/watt +/- without installation.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    NPG says they are in Austin and trackers are made in USA.

    No worries about the lead....
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company
    BB. wrote: »
    I have not found any pictures or design details on their website--but at ~$4-$7,000 for the tracker--according to their numbers, you can almost double the size of your array (at $5/watt of solar panel) if you do fixed mounting and save the money on the tracker.

    it does not look like the tracker will double your output--so do a very detailed cost comparison (plus maintenance costs for servo replacements--they don't seem to last all that many years) and see what works best for you.

    Their systems seem to run around $10/watt without installation--including panels and inverters--a regular Grid Tied fixed mount system is probably around ~$7/watt +/- without installation.

    -Bill

    Please show me where I can purchse a 2kw roof mount system for 3000 dollars.

    If the tracker cost 7k and the complete package costs 50k please show me how removing 14% of the cost allows the doubling of the array size. Those sanyo panels are not cheap.

    The advatage of the tracker is it increases total output over a fixed system by 30 to 45% , but a roof mount is not nessisarally at the optimal angel so yes it is very likey that a tracker will double the output over a roofmount, so I guess by your math you spend 7K to save 43k.
    Also since the trackers don't have the sharp power peaks that a fixed mount units have you can use a much smaller inverter. it spreads power production over a longer time span. rather than having to make 20kwh in 2 hrs you can make 6.5 kws over 6 hrs, that saves a lot in component cost.

    If you don't use a tracker you still have to purchase some sort of scafold even on a roof. Trackers are much easier to install. and they dont trap mousture on the roof, as a contractor, I do not like messing with people's roofs, anything that happens is your fault when you start screwing, it voids the roofing warranty and trapps moisture and leaves up agianst the house. I will do a solar oning, or a carport, or a tracker.
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    There is substantial engineering, permit and installation costs for trackers, just the concrete will be 1-2k for each tracker. the largest tracker I have seen is 12 panels, so thats about a 1.5kw system .. you can buy PV every day for 4.00 watt so it flat out a no brainer to add 30% more PV than add a 5K tracker per 1.5kw.

    This doesn't even get into the maintaince issue, trackers don't match the 25 year life of panels, so you will be hunting down controllers and actuators every 5-8 years to keep the tracker working. And a Bad tracker is worse than no tracker at all
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    t_greenless,

    Just going by their pricing... Their ~3kW system costs for components just about what my roof mount system cost (retail+tax+shipping) installed.

    Their system may be great--there are no pictures or design details (or even links provided by anyone else here) about their system and/or component costs. The fact that their large mounting system appears to be able to hold up to ~18-30x 200 watt panels is great (240 or 400 sqft?--see discussion below).

    To compare my 3kW GT system, in my area (SF CA), a fixed optimum mount vs a 2 axis tracker the difference is 5.4 vs 7.1 kWhrs per day, 1 year average...

    So, the break even point for my system (all things being equal--which they rarely are) would be (3.5 kW STC of panels and 3kW GT inverter):

    3.5 kW STC or 3.0 kW PTC * 5.4/7.1 = 2.66kW STC (or 2.28kW PTC rated) 2 axis tracker

    The GTP 2300 (2.259kW) tracker is listed at $24,000 without installation... At first look, it appears that a fixed system is not much difference in price to install than a tracker for exactly the same output.

    Since this is the first time I have looked at their system, guessed at the website address (NPG's contact address is listed as Dracut, Massachusetts)--I may be all wet. I may have the wrong website/company, may have the wrong installation information (installation costs included vs what I read on their website):
    Because of a special partner relationship with a local installer/contractor who specializes in our systems, depending on your location, we may be able to provide a significantly discounted installation service. Please contact [email protected] for more information and to see if you qualify for this service.
    They may have wonderful, heavy duty servos, they may withstand windy conditions better than other mfg. of tracking mounting systems.

    And regarding the $50k system requiring only one tracker, I am a bit confused about the size of their Elite Trackers... In one place they state 400 sqft. In another it states 400 sqft in the text and 240 sqft maximum in the spec. field... Don't know the answer if one or two are required for their 30x 200 watt panel system...
    ...is modified to accommodate up to 400 square feet of PV modules! It is the culmination of NPG’s tracker development.

    Solar-Azimuth Elite EX
    High-capacity, High-strength Solar Tracker
    Maximum Array Area: 240 square feet; 8 inch pole mount
    I agree with you that I am not completely comfortable with roof mounted solar either (because of the issues you have raised--but one advantage was that my home/attic is much cooler because of the shading by the solar panels)--but because of the (apparent costs and reliability issues with trackers of a few years ago) and the fact that my roof offers the only full sun on my suburban property--I went with the fixed roof mounts.

    3 or so years ago, I went to Solar Living Institute in Hopland California to look at their "green" exhibits. And they had ~2-4 trackers (much smaller than the ones we are talking about here) and every one of them was out of service--and one or two just had the actuators dangling (broken or somebody trying to fix--don't know).... But I was not impressed by their tracking installations (if a "solar institute" can't keep them running--I am not going to bother trying).

    Sounds like you have lots of information about installing and maintaining tracking systems... Please feel provide us with your experiences... We are all here to learn.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    you could also pole mount the pvs without tracking, but i doubt it's any cheaper than a roof system. solar guppy has had a ground mount system that may hold possibilities for being a good mounting option.
    i might add that 2kw in pvs would cost more than $3000 no matter what mounting system you'd choose so that question is redundant and somewhat misleading. that equates to $1.50/watt.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    I understand what you are saying, but if you look around the world at large solar pv installations they are almost exclusively based on some kind of tracking mount. The panels are the more expensive component. The only reason the trackers are not more common here is that the incentive system is based on total array size installed, In europe the incentives are based on power produced, therefore in europe you see more trackers. As far as the size thing it looks like they have different sized heads for different loads. It looks like they have three different heads. I think the have a 10yr warranty.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    At best, using retail pricing in the US, the tracking and fixed mount systems, including installation costs, produce pretty much the same output for the same price (based on the pricing of this new--extra large tracker?).

    In Europe, it appears that the solar panels are still some somewhat more expensive than here:

    USD $4.82 per watt
    Euro €4.71 per watt or USD $7.44 per watt

    And given the generally higher sales tax rates in Europe (8-20%)--fixed costs become even more important (don't know how labor is taxed, or not, across Europe).

    Also, in California, they now pay based on expected kWhr output, or for larger systems (roughly larger than 10kW?), based on measured/monitored kWhr output. So--they should be offering rebates based on performance of tracking systems too.

    But looking through their calculator, there does not seem to be any way of adding a 1 or 2 axis tracker to the application.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Posts: 705Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    Why ? (Only a question) when some one, who is not a regular treader of this board brings up a new product for discussion they are absolute newbies 1,2 posts and then surprisingly a new vocal advocate of said product is also a newbie ?

    Call me skeptical but its not rocket science to work out Spammers,

    Honest knowledge spreading stalwarts of this forum get abused but not hood winked by the Spammers. Try Fleabay boys you will shift more product....

    Honest Folk (Us term I believe Mr Bush) reside here not Fleabay Flybynights

    Yes I expect a slap;)
  • nigtomdawnigtomdaw Posts: 705Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    Maybe not, just checked there website reminds me of double glazing firms of early 90s , please call for details, can even give specs for mounting them ?

    Wow need to stop by and get one ! just booking my flight to good 2 miss:p
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    My own suspicions were raised after visiting the website. I found it interesting and a bit troubling that within such a fancy site there is not one picture of the product, no "satisfied" customers. Mostly just colourful phrases.

    Beware

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    I kind of like the Home Power Tracker Article (PDF) that NPGES linked to:
    Tracker Experiences

    I operate both thermally and electrically operated trackers here at our off-grid site in southwestern Oregon. I have found our thermally operated Zomeworks tracker to be supremely reliable, although somewhat imprecise at following the sun, especially during our cold and windy winters. Our electrically operated Wattsun trackers are super precise, but have not been without their failures during the thirteen years we’ve used them—twice from lightning, and six times from just plain old electronics failures. Since we have a dawn-to-dusk-sun tracker site and use lots of energy in the summer, using trackers here is a real energy booster for us.

    I remember reading this very article--and it was one of the major data points that turned me off of trackers.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    Good work BB, nothing like a good link to bring some real data to the thread
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,106Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company
    BB. wrote: »
    I kind of like the Home Power Tracker Article (PDF) that NPGES linked to:



    I remember reading this very article--and it was one of the major data points that turned me off of trackers.

    -Bill

    Update on the photo sensor for the Wattsun. The last 6 years or so they have been on version 3 which has done very well with lightning and reliability. The earlier versions were not bad but keep in mind that anything out on a pole including the panels and everything downstream is susceptible to damage from mother nature. The article above does not address what was done to protect the arrays and so it is very one sided. Even so it does point out the virtue of dawn to dusk power.

    The sensor assy. takes about 10 minutes to change out. Anything mechanical is going to have an increased chance of failure but this system has been one of the great things for making life offgrid problem free.

    If there were a failure, you would have a fixed mount! I have not had any problems with these units in environments that would scare the pants off most urban dwellers. It is an expense that is worth every penny if this is your lifestyle.
    It certainly is not for everyone!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    If you have the space, no tracking system is cost effective, period. Panels at 1-2 watts current pricing is lower cost for an entire array that just the cost of the tracker and concrete.

    When stuff was 5-10 watts panel price, it was a viable solution ... thats all in the rear view mirror now
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Posts: 4,106Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: New Solar Tracker Company

    We definately disagree !
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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