Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, announced this Wednesday it supplied to Namasté Solar its TDP Turnkey Solar Trackers for Jack’s Solar Garden, a 1,2 MW community solar farm located in Colorado; it is also the largest agrivoltaic research project in the U.S.
Firstly, Solar FlexRack is one of U.S. leaders in photovoltaic mounting and solar tracker solutions. Its TDP Turnkey Solar Tracker is one of the most reliable technologies in solar trackers, as it maximizes land use and operates with a smart backtracking, which reduces operational and maintenance costs.
Secondly, Namasté Solar is a Certified B corporation which develops, designs and installs solar electric systems. In fact, the company designed and built the Jack’s Solar Garden, which produces enough energy to power 300 local homes.
Thirdly, the Jack’s Solar Garden sits on five acres of farmland for the double use of agriculture and solar energy production, therefore it is considered an agrivoltaic site. Consequently, it studies how to best grow wildflowers, pasture; prairie grasses, pollinator habitats, as well as carrots, onions, tomatoes and more; which are planted underneath the solar array.
Moreover, the research is conducted by the Jack’s Solar Garden employees along with the Department of Energy through its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); and also, the Colorado State University and the University of Arizona.
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Solutions by Solar FlexRack crucial for agrivoltaic development of Jack’s Solar Garden
In addition, Solar FlexRack and its tracker solution allowed Namasté Solar to install the trackers at several different heights; this, to test the impact of various amounts of shade and sunlight on crop growth, while still maximizing solar energy yield.
Consequently, leveraging from prior agrivoltaic projects “Namasté Solar knew it was critical to avoid overly compacting the native soil; which could limit the planting of certain species. They overcame this challenge by maintaining strict drive lanes for heavy equipment and not using gravel on-site.” The company’s statement reads.
Therefore, Ryan Turnbull, Senior Commercial Project Manager at Namasté Solar, said. “We selected Solar FlexRack’s robust TDP Solar Trackers due to their efficiency, accuracy and versatility; especially given the complex and varied needs of this project. It was clear that Solar FlexRack was committed to ensuring the project’s success through their outstanding support services.”
Finally, the agrivoltaic project is already a national model of service and education; aside from the partnerships mentioned above, the project also partnered with Audubon Rockies; to plant their largest Habitat Hero in Colorado around the perimeter of the solar array – over 1,800 pollinator friendly perennials. This was in May 2020.