The company is using Opel’s solar photovoltaic tracking system on two California projects –a 2.32-megawatt installation in Palmdale and a 2.27-megawatt array in 29 Palms.
“We see this as the beginning of a series of projects,” said Opel COO Frank Middleton.
He said the company, which started in the solar industry in 2006 and just introduced its tracking system in 2009, has more than 100 projects in the pipeline all over the world.
“We’re certainly in California,” Middleton said. “But we’re not limiting ourselves to one state. We’re in Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and South America.”
He said Opel recently installed Rhode Island’s largest solar array.
Opel’s solar tracking system is competing strongly with those that already existed in the marketplace, Middleton said.
“SunPower is a good point of reference for what makes our trackers different,” Middleton said.
He explained that SunPower, a market leader in the solar industry, uses solar tracking systems that attach whole banks of solar panels to one computer system and control. Opel’s system allows for individual panel control. That means that if one panel in a chain gets stuck or malfunctions, it won’t bring down a whole bank of panels.
“We limit downtime and loss,” Middleton said. “We also don’t have mechanical linkages.”
That means trucks like those used to clean the panels can get through the gaps between panels when they are turned away from each other.
Middleton added that their trackers allow panels to rotate more dramatically.
Opel entered the solar market with concentrated solar photovoltaics in 2006 and continues to develop utility-scale CPV projects. The company is currently working to break into the South American solar market.
In the US, Middleton said, there has been increased demand for Opel’s utility-scale solar PV tracking systems.