Keep trackers following the sun with proper O&M

Published September 2, 2020

By Kelsey Misbrener | September 2, 2020

Mounting solar panels on tracking systems instead of fixed-tilt racking increases the energy yield of a project. But more moving parts means different O&M considerations must be made for these advanced arrays. Learn how to keep tracking systems running smoothly in this Solar Basics video sponsored by RBI, based on the story: How to keep solar tracker systems running smoothly.

Solar contractor LightWave Solar’s O&M technicians handle upkeep for about 2.5 MW of tracking solar arrays, composed of both single- and dual-axis trackers. LightWave’s techs have found that malfunctioning trackers are often fixed through system resets, but downtime can also be caused by loose drive shafts, dead sensors and rusted motors from moisture intrusion through broken gaskets.

“Keeping water out of them is the most important thing and it’s worth the money replacing those gaskets and those plastic pieces,” said Silas McRae, O&M technician with LightWave.

Too much exposure to the sun can make gaskets crack and break, letting water into vital driving components on trackers. “Periodically replacing a gasket is marginally cheaper than ripping a rusted motor off a tracker,” he said. “If a tracker isn’t working, we check the sensors and power supply; we see if a breaker tripped or if the motor burned out,” Silas added.

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