Nevados all-terrain solar trackers chosen for three Virginia solar farms

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Nevados, a California-based all-terrain solar tracker company, announced a partnership with Energix Renewables, an Israeli renewable energy developer and independent power producer (IPP), to provide its tracker platform as part of a long-term supply agreement.

Energix plans to use the Nevados solar trackers to minimize grading on domestic projects with severe topographical challenges. The company expects that by using the all-terrain trackers it will be able to develop solar projects in sloped areas that otherwise would need extensive grading.

According to Yezin Taha, co-founder and CEO of Nevados Engineering, modeling has shown that trackers on a 17% slope can capture 6% more solar energy than trackers on flat ground, and up to 30% more energy than fixed tilt systems.

Nevados began its R&D process in 2014, winning a 2015-2016 SunShot award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Its All Terrain Tracker fits to undulating terrain due to its design that integrates the driveline and articulating capability into the same components. Incorporated into the Nevados design are bearings that allow for installation on slopes up to 37% with slope changes as great as 26% across a foundation.

Other unique design aspects include non-continuous torque tubes, shorter pilings, and large tolerances, all of which simplify and speed up the installation, according to Jenya Meydbray, chief commercial officer at Nevados. Top-clamp clips also reportedly help solar modules to align during installation and accommodate different module sizes. The torque tube and damper designs improve wind performance and Meydbray noted, have proven to withstand hurricane-force winds with zero structural damage.

Energix U.S. LLC, its Arlington, Virginia-based subsidiary, reports that it currently has over 6 GW in its U.S. solar project pipeline. With operations in the U.S., Israel and Poland, Energix reports it has approximately $500 million invested in the U.S. with nine operational projects, six projects in construction and others in its project pipeline.

“Our goal is to build high-performing solar projects that respect the natural landscape and benefit local communities,” commented Itamar Sarussi, country manager of Energix U.S. “The new partnership with Nevados means Energix can deploy best-in-class solar assets with minimal topographical impact and help ensure our projects on topographically diverse sites are successful.”

The partners will begin their collaboration with three solar farms in rural Virginia, two of which are located on rolling topography in the highly regulated Chesapeake Bay watershed. Apple Grove Solar is a 20 MW solar project in Louisa County with plans for a pollinator garden on site. The 37 MW Endless Caverns and 25 MW River Trail solar projects are reportedly among the first large-scale solar farms to be located in Rockingham County and Carroll County, respectively.

“As the renewable energy transition spreads to regions with more variable terrain, environmentally responsible construction that eliminates grading will drive the solar industry’s next phase of growth,” said Meydbray.

(Read more on all-terrain trackers: “Tracking the sun on uneven terrain“)

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