Novel Energy Solutions and Mechatron Solar partner on 20MW solar tracker project in Midwest


Novel Energy Solutions LLC announced a new strategic partnership with Mechatron Solar to develop C&I and utility scale dual-axis tracker solar installations. The initial installation is a planned 20MW solar project in the Midwest.

Mechatron Solar trackers incorporate gearless, hydraulic motion drives. For the 20MW project, Mechatron Solar will manufacture approximately 515 of its \M18KD trackers at its Stockton, California facility. The company said its M18KD tracker has demonstrated 99.97% uptime over the past decade across 90MW in Europe and North America. The tracking system motion of the M18KD gearless dual-axis tracker is based on the accuracy of the astronomical algorithm, which Mechatron Solar estimates provides up to 40% greater energy production than conventional systems.Novel Energy Solutions, a family-owned Minnesota-based solar energy company founded in 2012, has developed more than 300MW of community solar garden projects, including the first four in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota territory. While the company initially focused on Minnesota and the Midwest, it now has ongoing and completed projects from coast-to-coast.

Mechatron’s gearless dual-axis design.

Image: Mechatron Solar

Last July, Mechatron received a US patent for its gearless, dual-axis trackers. The platform is one of the largest trackers available, with a 90-panel, 144-cell per-panel mounting table. The M18KD trackers were built with the conditions of harsh, northern climates in mind, as the gearless nature mitigates mechanical failures, and the array can be tilted to 70 degrees to shed snow. When tracking, 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, said Mechatron.

Also developed by Mechatron is the M16KD model, a solar tracker for agrivoltaic applications. The mount features extra spacing between the vertical panel stacks to permit light to pass through to crops beneath the structure.

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