A Case Study for Northern residential estate owners to reduce electricity cost by installing a Mechatron gearless dual-axis solar tracker: Mildenberger Estate, Halifax, Canada.
Faced with high electricity rates, Halifax estate owner Stephen Mildenberger tapped solar developer Aartha Group of Surrey, British Columbia to supply a Mechatron M18KD gearless dual-axis tracker. The tracker hosts 90 Canadian Solar bifacial panels generating 390 Watts each, along with Hoymiles microinverters, installed by Spark Power, of Dartmouth, N.S.
The bifacial panels will help capture the high reflected light albedo during the snow season. “We’re already seen a boost of about 20% from the bifacial panels, on top of the 35% gain the tracker provides compared to a fixed-tilt installation,” says Mildenberger.
The 35 kW of energy produced by the system will provide the vast majority of the electricity demand for the estate, including enough to operate an EV charging station. Excess electricity is sold to the utility under net metering.
“Canada has preposterous weather swings in terms of both temperature and wind, so it’s not easy to build out transmission and distribution networks. As a result, microgrids like this one are the most economic solution for the region,” says Jay Vaishnav, the vice president of Aartha Group.
“While other tracker technology hasn’t worked north of the 39th parallel, the Mechatron tracker, with its near-vertical positioning capability — enabling snow shedding — and very high reliability, is a perfect fit,” Vaishnav says.
“We considered various dual-axis designs that offered a variety of performance levels, but our final decision on Mechatron came down to reliability. Other manufacturers’ designs have elevated incidences of shattered gears when they are exposed to our low temperatures and high wind loads,” observes Vaishnav.
Over the last 12 years Mechatron’s trackers have demonstrated unparalleled operational stability and resilience working across varying site conditions. The patented design of the M18KD yields an uptime of more than 99.9%.
The M18KD tracker also has demonstrated a Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) of 3.5 years and a Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) of less than 8 hours in average. These statistics represent the highest uptime in the tracking industry as well as the lowest maintenance cost over the duration of the project lifespan.
Equipment Installed by Aartha Group:
— 1 M18KD Gearless Dual-Axis Tracker;
— 90 bifacial 390W Canadian Solar panels;
— 90 Hoymiles microinverters.
Performance & Savings:
— System Size: 35.1 kW DC;
— System Electricity Generation: 70,000 kWh/year;
— Year One Savings: $11,000 from net metering;
— 20 Year Savings: $220,000.