FTC Solar, a global provider of solar tracking systems, technology, software and engineering services, has released the next generation of its single-axis Voyager tracker – the Voyager + – designed to bring compatibility with new large format solar panels to the market.
The large modules that hit the market are built to contain larger solar cells, which are the energy producing component of each solar module. With larger 182 mm and 210 mm cells, the modules can achieve an output of more than 500 W. According to FTC Solar, the Voyager + supports these larger modules and can accommodate multiple module sizes from different solar manufacturers.
Large format modules are expected to reduce development costs for solar projects and improve the return on investment for solar developers. According to an industry analysis by Wood Mackenzie, labor savings alone could be up to 6% and energy production could increase per acre – with production gains depending on module size and technology.
“We are seeing increasing interest in large format modules and are excited to introduce this new Voyager line to support our customers,” said Tony Etnyre, CEO of FTC Solar. “As the industry moves to larger modules, FTC Solar is ready to provide tracking systems that are compatible with a wide variety of module sizes and configurations while maintaining the format and installation speed in portrait orientation.”
The transition to large format modules is the next step in an industry that has focused on smaller, standard module sizes for over a decade. Around these modules, the industry's ecosystem for electrical and structural components was developed. Standardization has simplified the design and reduced the overall system costs.
The new large-format modules will continue to provide system-level efficiency improvements, but certain components, including trackers, will require design changes. FTC Solar has worked with module manufacturers to identify and implement engineering changes to support larger modules such as reinforced torque tubes and modified damping technology.
FTC Solar is currently conducting tests at its research facility near Denver, Colorado and will evaluate the performance and structural requirements of a variety of large format modules. The module manufacturers are increasing the production of 500 W modules – 600 W modules are expected to be used in the second half of the year.