FTC Solar 2P tracker is built for high winds and large-format modules

As the solar industry moves towards large-format modules, FTC Solar unveiled Voyager+, a new two-in-portrait solar tracker that aims to optimize energy capture while reducing the manpower and equipment needed for the reduce installation.

Credit: FTC Solar

FTC Solar reported that Voyager uses 46% fewer foundations than comparable one-in-portrait systems. FTC has more than 1 GW of planned or installed solar capacity that Voyager uses.

“While the solar industry moves towards large format modules of 600W or more, traditional single-module portrait tracking systems struggle to support these new ‘sails’. Because the static and dynamic wind loads are much greater on the structures, there is an ongoing need for improved tracking designs,” said Tony Etnyre, CEO of FTC Solar. “To answer this call, our team developed Voyager+ to leverage the benefits of 2P designs with good wind load management and the seamless integration of large, complex solar modules – resulting in a storage-free design.”

FTC Solar has conducted extensive wind tunnel testing and modeling to develop a unique damper design to reduce the effects of wind that can cause vortex shedding and torsional gallop, which has been validated by RWDI Tunnel Testing.

FTC Solar collaborated with RWDI and Engineered Power Solutions (EPS) on data analysis and wind tunnel testing to independently validate the product’s structural stability.

FTC Solar first implemented code-based methods commonly used in engineering to understand static wind forces based on site design parameters, wind speed, exposure, and similar factors. The first sensor-based tests were conducted with models of the Voyager 2P system to measure static wind loads and how they affected structures.

“Using our basic knowledge of the RWDI model test, FTC developed a highly damped system design,” said Matthew Gilliss, CEO and president of EPS. “By undergoing these tests, their engineering team developed an understanding of common system design flaws and what preventive measures were needed to eliminate the risk of aeroelastic instability.”

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