Soltec: spearheading innovation with its SF8 tracker

Soltec, leading company in the manufacture of complete solar tracking units, has spent years prioritising innovation its each one of its systems and procedures. Since it was founded in 2004, Soltec has been constantly evolving, seeking to improve its products based on the most innovative processes to keep ahead of market demands. The flexibility and adaptability of its solar trackers is one of the features that have made it possible to win the trust of its clients, creating a niche in the solar tracking market.

Thanks to its client orientation, Soltec has managed to consolidate its position of leadership as the third supplier of solar trackers at global level, according to the report published by information supplier IHS Markit, “Global PV tracker report – 2020”. According to this report, Soltec supplied 9.2% of the world’s trackers during 2019, the equivalent of 2,910 MW of equipment for solar plants globally and an increase of 1.3% compared to the previous year.

As such, the company was ranked third in the world in 2019 and continues to hold this position in terms of cumulative deliveries out of all active manufacturers. Similarly, the data contained in the report shows that Soltec is the leading company in Latin America in the supply of solar trackers to this continent. 

Continuing its support for innovation, Soltec has launched a solar tracker that adapts to the needs of a market that is demanding increasingly larger panels: the SF8. This solar tracker sets out to revolutionise the solar tracking market, with a minimum configuration of 2×60 and between 4 and 6 strings, implementing all the features of the previous generation of trackers from Soltec, the SF7.

This tracker is elegantly designed while benefiting from a reinforced structure for installation and high levels of yield on any terrain. The reinforced torque tube, with its new and improved geometry, along with the fully autonomous self-stow system, help strengthen the resistance of the tracker to adverse weather conditions. In addition, the SF8 tracker has 22% more rigidity compared to the SF7. “We have applied all the knowledge acquired, in collaboration with RWDI, to design the most resilient tracker on the market”, confirms Sergio López, COO of Soltec.

SF8 is especially designed for the largest modules, of between 72 and 78 cells, which are starting to dominate the market. “As tracker manufacturers, we have to adapt our designs to market trends, always with the aim of offering our clients the highest tracker performance”, explains Raúl Morales, CEO of Soltec.

Compared to the previous generation of Soltec trackers, the SF8 reduces the number of parts by 5.16%, to achieve greater efficiency in both cost and installation. Each SF8 tracker has at least 4 strings, meaning fewer electrical connections. Thanks to these implementations, the SF8 is much easier and quicker to install, which impacts on both achieving a greater return on investment, in addition to lower installation and maintenance costs.

Global expansion

From its earliest days, Soltec has been particularly committed to the development of solar PV in Latin America. In countries such as Mexico, Brazil and Chile, Soltec enjoys a position of prominence. The projects implemented by Soltec in these countries are increasingly larger and are particularly tending towards the incorporation of bifacial technology.

In its effort to become the leader of the PV sector, Soltec was the first company to create a solar tracker specifically manufactured for bifacial modules in utility-scale plants, a milestone that was achieved in 2015 at ‘La Silla’ in Chile. This 1.72 MWp PV plant was used for experimental purposes and has provided the basis for bifacial tracking technology. As a result, La Silla has become an exceptional project through which Soltec has been able to start studying bifacial tracking.

Since then, Soltec has continued to develop bifacial solar trackers, whose increasingly more sophisticated technology results in an enhanced return on investment. In 2018, Soltec inaugurated the first Bifacial Tracker Evaluation Center, BiTEC, located in Livermore, California (US). BiTEC focuses its efforts on establishing which parameters have the most impact when maximising the efficiency of bifacial trackers, thus providing the basis for every tracker developed by the company.