Massive gearless dual-axis solar tracker achieves patent


A U.S. patent was issued to Mechatron for their massive, gearless, dual-axis tracker with a 90-panel platform. The tracker utilizes what the company calls zero-backlash technology, and can rotate the large structure around the azimuth axis with accuracy.

The structure has performed in extreme weather conditions and high winds, from coastal Halifax, Canada winters to desert locales. Often in harsh environments, geared trackers experience cracks and failure, but Mechatron’s gearless design has proven resilient in among the harshest environs.

(Read: “Dual-axis tracker supports power production in cold climates”)

Following a 30-month review, the M18KD tracker has earned a patent, and is among the largest tracker platforms available, with a 90-panel, 144-cell per-panel mounting table. The single-mast platform offers what the company said is the highest energy density and yield compared with solutions using the same number and type of panels.

Mechatron’s gearless dual-axis design.

Image: Mechatron Solar

The company claims a 99.87% uptime of the 90 MW total installed capacity of their dual-axis trackers, dating back to the first installation in 2008 and spanning North America and Europe.

The company also builds a M16KD model, designed for agrivoltaic applications. The mount features extra spacing between vertical panel stacks to permit light to pass through to crops beneath the structure.

Hydraulic components perform the North-South axis actuation and are now refined for sub-zero operations. The zenith axis can move from flat to 70 degrees, allowing for snow and soiling shedding.

The azimuthal axis performs a caterpillar-like “Catch-Move-Release-Return” movement, which Mechatron said increases stability and safety. The central braking system makes the system highly durable and virtually unbreakable, said Mechatron.

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