SPI 2016 Solar Rack & Track Product Update

Ironically, the show was booked at the smaller North Hall of the Convention Center rather than the larger South Hall where it was located two years ago — some say out of a belief that the ITC would not pass and the industry would shrink for a year or so. However, the current post-ITC boom in the solar industry outgrew the hall capacity quickly, spreading exhibitors into the Westgate Hotel next door, to other Hotel venues, and even into a large tent in the Convention Center parking lot. It was a challenge for show logisticians and map readers alike. Rumor has it that the show next year will move to the Mandalay Bay Resort.

Among the many more companies that attended the show for the first time, that launched new or upgraded products, or that announced new deals, here are a few more racking and tracking debuts, to add to our coverage posted yesterday on the website:

Arctech Solar launched the latest version of its tracker line, including singe-axis versions with horizontal and tilted modules, and a dual-axis model that the company says captures 40 percent more energy than a fixed installation. Arctech, based in Kunshan, Jiangsju Province, in China, plans to open its first U.S. office in Southern California in the next few months.

Big Sun, based in Hukou Township, Taiwan, showed the latest generation of its unique cable-balanced dual-axis tracker, the iPV. Adjusted with 9 mm aviation cable through a pulley system, the design is particularly robust in high-wind situations. In safety mode, the unit can withstand 220 k/hr wind.

Iron Ridge, based in Hayward, California, demonstrated its new Universal Fastening Objects (UFO) with a hard-to-forget acronym. The family of connectors are designed to couple with the XR rail design, and includes a fastener, stoper, grounding lug and bonded splice. The UFOs have been tested with over 400 modules, as well as with Enphase, Darfon and SolarEdge micros/optimizers.

Magna, the Aurora, Ontario, division of the global autoparts conglomerate, is readying its single-axis tracker for the U.S. market on the heels of 2.3 GW of fixed racking array sales. The tracker features one motor per row of 25 kW blocs, and adaptability to a ground slope of up to nine degrees. The product should be commercially available in a few months, with global distribution assured through the conglomerate’s 309 manufacturing locations around the world.

Polar Racking, of Toronto, demonstrated its new PRG grid-based flat roof solution, with tilt up to 15 degrees. The design features a racking system based on 1-inch aluminum-coated steel tubes with diagonal bends that eliminate corner parts and other connectors. The product is in the midst of its UL review, and is expected to be available in a few months, at a beginning price of 10 cents per Watt.