Solar FlexRack provides trackers for the biggest US agrivoltaic analysis challenge
Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals that specializes in photovoltaic assembly and solar tracker solutions, has supplied its turnkey TDP solar trackers for Jacks Solar Garden, a 1.2 MW solar park project and the largest agrivoltaic research project in the USA.
The solar facility in Boulder County, Colorado was designed and built by Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative based in Colorado.
Jacks is located on 5 acres of farmland for dual use of agriculture and solar power generation. In collaboration with the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona, it is investigating how best to grow wildflowers, pasture and prairie grasses, pollinator habitats, as well as crops such as carrots, onions, tomatoes and pumpkin, all of which will be planted under and around the solar panels this season.
Namasté Solar chose Solar FlexRack's TDP solar trackers because of their versatility and intelligent backtracking. With Solar FlexRack's TDP Solar Trackers, Namasté Solar was able to overcome the challenge of installing the trackers at different heights to test the effects of different amounts of shade and sunlight on plant growth while maximizing solar energy yield.
"We selected Solar FlexRack trackers for their efficiency, accuracy and versatility, especially given the complex and diverse needs of this project," said Ryan Turnbull, senior commercial project manager at Namasté Solar. "It was clear that Solar FlexRack was committed to ensuring the success of the project through outstanding support services."
Namasté Solar used its expertise from previous agrivoltaic projects and knew the importance of avoiding over-compaction of the local soil, which could restrict the planting of certain species. They overcame this challenge by maintaining strict heavy equipment lanes and not using gravel on site.
Photo: Byron Kominek, owner of Jacks Solar Garden, drives his family's tractor through the solar power system, courtesy of Werner Slocum, NREL