Building a tracker.

Solar Tracker Installation
How to Build a Solar Sun Tracker

Video For those in a hurry, press Play to see the final construction of this tracker in under a minute. At the end (after we eat lunch), watch as we turn it on and it finds and faces the sun.

truck Build-Tracker-Steps

Truck. It comes on a truck from its factory near Burlington, VT. One concrete foundation and one box packed with the world’s biggest erector set.

On a nice summer day, we set out to build a tracker for one of our customers. His family needed over 15,000 kWh of energy per year to zero out their electric usage bill. This tracker can easily produce that. Its 24 SunPower 360 watt panels are the best in the world, with the most comprehensive 25-year warranty of any brand and an expected life of 40 years. The tracker has a 10-year warranty and also a long expected life.

plantingOnion Build-Tracker-Steps

Planting the onion. This 4,200 pound precast concrete foundation is buried below frost line to give the tracker resistance to winds as strong as 120 mph.

racking Build-Tracker-Steps

Racking. First, we set up a very large and flat workbench. The racking consists of sturdy, galvanized steel girders and stringers. When fully assembled, it’s thoroughly grounded and protected against nearby lightning strikes.

pole Build-Tracker-Steps

Pole anchor bolts. With a 4-foot long wrench powered by a strong worker, these 1” nuts are tight enough when the calibrated orange dye squirts from at least five of its locations.

upper-control Build-Tracker-Steps

Upper control head. he “can” is mounted atop the pole. It contains the electronic controls, the electro-hydraulic power drives, and the heavy duty rotator head.

upperControl2 Build-Tracker-Steps

Rack . Kyle gently lowers the mounting rack for the solar panels onto the control head.

panel1 Build-Tracker-Steps

Panels The 24 SunPower panels are mounted; 12 here on the lower portion, then the array is flipped over backwards and 12 added to the upper portion when it’s closer to the ground.

panel2 Build-Tracker-Steps

And more panels. The final 12 are now added and then the array is flipped back upright.

torque Build-Tracker-Steps

Torque. here are hundreds of bolts, and every single one of them is torqued to the right tightness so that they will stay in place.

torque-success Build-Tracker-Steps

Success! High-5’s for a job well done.

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