While there is often talk of the solar revolution, I tend to think of solar generation as a quiet way of trying to help take care of things—our environment, ourselves and future generations, and the birds and animals I see on my daily walks. It’s also important to remember that part of that quiet work lies in taking care of the solar equipment that we have, just as we take care of other valuable things in our lives.
Our solar tracker here in East Montpelier is so quiet that it can be easy to take it for granted. I have to stand under it and listen hard to hear its subtle movements, it doesn’t emit smoke or fumes, and no annoying buzzer reminds me that it is here in our yard. That it doesn’t tell us to take care of it is ironically part of the reason I need to take care of it. Like most of us, I don’t have training to do inspections and other things that ensure the decades of smooth operation our tracker can provide.
Below, you can read a more technical explanation of what our Operations and Maintenance Agreements entail. I know that when our Operations and Maintenance renewal comes up, taking care of the tracker that is helping to take care of us will not be a hard decision.
The significant efficiency advantage up to 40% that your AllEarth Solar Tracker has over fixed-mount systems lies in the fact that your trackers moves to “follow the sun.” (We suspect that roof mounted system owners have a serious problem if their roof starts moving!) In order to move as it does, the tracker itself must have components that drive those movements with precision, while remaining durable throughout the decades of weather patterns through which the tracker will provide solar energy to its owner.
Among the key internal parts of your tracker is what’s called the “yaw system,” which is the system also used to orient wind turbines toward the wind. Its primary components include an electric motor and ring gear. Your tracker also has a hydraulic cylinder to achieve the tilt that you see most clearly in the early and late hours of daylight, when the sun is lower on the horizon. Chances are most of you have stood under your tracker on a quiet, sunny day and seen and heard (barely) the subtle workings of these parts as they bring about the “dual axis” efficiencies that other solar systems can’t provide.
We all know from our experience in daily life that things with moving parts need basic inspections and maintenance—fluids and hoses checked, gears greased, overall structures examined and more. Your tracker is non exception, and this info sheet sets out the broad range of important services included in our Operations and Maintenance agreements. Having this agreement in place throughout the life of your tracker is a smart, cost-effective investment.
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