Building a tracker.

Click to Watch local solar installers build a tracker!

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 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer Tracker Steps

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

panel1 Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer Tracker Steps

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

torque Solar Installer 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 Solar Installer Tracker Steps

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

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