TerraSmart Debuts TF2 Landscape Rack at Intersolar for Faster, More Profitable Solar
Every year at summer’s peak, solar industry leaders convene in chilly San Francisco for the Intersolar North Americaconference, where they can pause to reflect on the first half of the year and plan for the coming months. This year, Intersolar on July 10 marks its tenth anniversary during an exciting but uncertain time for solar.
With competition fiercer than ever in utility-scale PV, developers and EPCs rely on racking leaders like TerraSmart to innovate in ground mount construction, ensuring profitability. At Intersolar, TerraSmart will feature its TF2 L ground mount system that brings landscape orientation to solar construction to achieve higher yields and faster builds.
UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR CONTINUES TO SET RECORDS
Last year was record-breaking in many ways. Rapid growth across all segments resulted in 15 gigawatts (GW) of new clean solar energy installed, a 97 percent increase over 2015. According to analysts, two more gigawatts were added in 2017’s first quarter, with more than half of that attributed to large-scale systems — a trend that has held true for the previous six quarters.
Utility PV continues to be the primary driver of installations in the U.S. solar market. More than 1 GW came online in Q1 of this year, with Q2 seeing another 2 GW already installed and 4.7 GW under construction.
While the outlook for the remainder of 2017 has softened a bit, another boom for large-scale solar is widely expected by 2019 as the pendulum swings again. Lagging projects from 2016 that were thought to spill over into 2017 came online faster than expected, while substantial interconnection delays in growth markets like the Carolinas and Oregon are pushing construction schedules into 2018. All of these factors combined likely will drive 2019 installations up to nearly 8 GW, with utilities and developers rushing to get projects in the queue before the ITC incentive steps down from its current 30 percent tax rebate.
With the increase in new solar installations, prices continue to fall; utility-scale systems have dropped below the $1 per watt mark for the first time. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, prices for utility fixed-tilt projects in Q1 2017 dropped more than six percent quarter-over-quarter – the steepest drop of all market segments in Q1.
KEY FACTORS DRIVE PV CONSTRUCTION COSTS
Developers are well aware of the key metrics that drive construction costs. They seek partners who offer the know-how and track record to tighten timelines, reduce risks and improve yield. These factors play a central role in optimizing system returns and ensuring profitability:
Project velocity – To lower labor costs, it’s essential to use racks designed specifically to reduce installation time. Time-saving techniques and ancillary services that streamline plant builds also are critical. Systems come online faster when they’re deployed using a complete turnkey installation with tightly-coordinated execution throughout all steps of the project.
System yield – To optimize land use, racks should be engineered for flexibility in terrains with varying degrees of complexity. Systems that provide different orientation options increase megawatts per acre, maximizing capacity and boosting returns.
Quality and accuracy: Cost controls must be maintained every step of the way. High-velocity manufacturing techniques improve rack performance, eliminate waste and ensure quality. Ground screw foundations reduce costly civil work because they can penetrate the toughest terrain; greater precision keeps projects performing optimally for the long run. New autonomous technology deployed during installation can hone precision while increasing speed and cutting costs.
INNOVATIVE DESIGN CUTS COSTS AND INCREASES YIELD
Last year at Intersolar, TerraSmart launched its new adjustable racking system. This year we unveil the next generation in our industry-defining, fixed-tilt portfolio. The TF2 L rack brings a landscape orientation to TerraSmart’s cost-effective ground-mount technology. This new orientation allows table sizes up to 6 x 8 panels to accommodate more modules per foundation, which maximizes system capacity and lowers the overall cost of array construction.
The new TF2 L rack requires 66 percent less hardware than the competition, simplified hardware stacks for easy materials handling and fast installation through innovative connection points. These features reduce installation time by 35 percent and save substantial man hours. TF2 L’s flexible design also requires less civil work on tough sites, which means additional savings
Combined with TerraSmart’s industry-defining, versatile ground screw foundation, the TF2 L system works in any terrain or soil condition. Ground screws require less infrastructure than driven piles, saving customers 30 percent in overall foundation costs.
Designed to meet the most rigorous international criteria, the TF2 L is certified to the latest UL 2703 Edition 1 standard, complies with the NEC, has passed CPP wind tunnel testing certifications, and handles snow loads up to 100 pounds per square foot.
And because TerraSmart’s turnkey construction delivers unequaled precision through state-of-the-art surveying and accurate rock drilling, project risks are kept in check for high bankability.
Visit us at Intersolar in Booth #9711 to meet our team and see how we continuously innovate to deliver faster, smarter, better solutions for more competitive large-scale solar PV.