A manufacturer of solar panels offers arrays that incorporate silicon cells, durable reflector materials, and single-access tracking into one system. Skyline Solar says as the solar industry matures, customers are valuing energy yield and cost more than peak “nameplate” rating. The company’s High Gain Solar (HGS) describes a series of system-level design features which drive lower installed cost and higher energy yield relative to traditional fixed-tilt PV.
The movement to HGS, says the company, started with the adoption of high efficiency silicon cells and tracking, which increases energy yield, and it now includes reflective materials, lower cost panels, convection cooling, string & shadow management, streamlined installation and maintenance. Systems which combine one or more of these features are considered to be high gain.
The HGS architecture provides the energy cost of thin film with the performance and reliability of silicon PV. The architecture is also engineered for scalability, drawing on reliable materials and traditional manufacturing processes available on a vast scale.
Each HGS array consists of two main components: a reflective rack with integrated tracking, and four rows of High Gain Solar panels along its edges. HGS arrays are mechanically coupled together into long columns with adjacent units sharing mounting and tracking hardware. Multiple columns are installed side by side to create large solar fields.
HGS panels are similar to — but much smaller than — traditional silicon panels. Panels are oriented vertically along the edges of the reflective rack and contain a metal heat sink which enables efficient convection cooling with natural airflow. This allows cells to operate at lower temperatures for greater efficiency. HGS panels include a quick-connect feature for rapid installation onto the reflective racks and easy maintenance.
The reflective rack provides structural support for the overall array. It also collects light from a large aperture and concentrates it onto the HGS panels. The rack’s highly reflective top surface is covered with a thin durable metallic coating encased in oxide layers that ensures durability. This top surface combined with a set of prefabricated struts and ribs underneath forms a long stiff and lightweight space frame similar to structures used in the automotive and aircraft industries.
Skyline Solar www.skyline-solar.com
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