Nuance Energy announced general, worldwide availability of its revolutionary Osprey PowerPlatform, which was previously available only via the company’s AgWell Solar division and select engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firms. Nuance expects Osprey’s dramatic reduction in project complexity and costs to be disruptive in the ground mount solar industry, and has waited for patent-pending status for the platform’s technological advances to protect the company’s global first-to-market advantage.
The Osprey PowerPlatform is a modular solar racking system that can be installed quickly and easily by unskilled crews using only handheld power tools. For example, a 45-kW solar array—consisting of the earth anchor foundation system, the rack and rails, and 128 solar panels—can be installed by a 3- or 4-person crew in an 8-hour day. The cost of labor to install a full 2-MW system is less than $0.015/Watt (using typical hourly wages for semi-skilled workers), resulting in a potential savings of over $130,000 when compared to using piles or ground screws.
The Osprey PowerPlatform’s innovative use of an earth anchor foundation system minimizes conventional engineering requirements, adds modular scalability to the procurement and construction processes, and dramatically reduces field installation complexity and costs. The ability to conduct simple, inexpensive field load tests in real time to measure the actual (vs. calculated) holding capacity of every earth anchor can eliminate the need for geotechnical reports and related inspections, and guarantees being able to meet all applicable engineering specifications and code requirements.
The platform can be deployed on varied and sloped terrain, as well as under the most challenging of soil conditions, such as desert hard pan, rocky soil, permafrost and capped landfills. The versatility to perform well in virtually any set of circumstances enables EPC firms, contractors, and distributors to have a single, modular solution for virtually all ground mount projects. By providing the industry’s lowest installation costs and fastest installation time for ground mount systems, the Osprey PowerPlatform also helps assure that these projects can be completed on time and within budget.
“The Osprey PowerPlatform proved remarkably straightforward to install and is so versatile that we have standardized on it for all of our ground mount systems,” says Alex Pugh, Operations Manager at Energy Concepts, an EPC in Fresno, California. “We previously had to pass on some projects because the site conditions appeared too challenging. But with the Osprey, we can go anywhere with complete confidence, and with zero downtime for footing inspections and setting of concrete.” Energy Concept’s service area includes the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where rocky soils and sloped terrain make it difficult to use concrete footings, piles or ground screws as foundations.
Once granted, the patents will protect key aspects of the Osprey PowerPlatform’s modular design that make it easy to install, including based on the ability to fold the entire, pre-assembled power platform for compact storage and transport. In addition to the standard version, the patent also includes claims for the use of a single axis tracker (SAT) and dual side-by-side SAT components installed on top of the Osprey PowerPlatform.
The ability to fold the Osprey PowerPlatform as a complete, modular unit with the solar panels attached, makes the system “portable” and, therefore, suitable for applications where ground mount solar was previously considered impractical or impossible. Examples include disaster response and recovery, tactical military deployments, and mining operations where power is needed for only a relatively short period of time, measured in days, weeks or months. A 6-kW unit, for example, can be installed by a crew of 3 or 4 in about an hour, and later uninstalled just as quickly, leaving behind only the small, earth anchors, which can also be removed if required.
“The Osprey’s many ground-breaking advantages are both literal and figurative,” claims Brian C. Boguess, Nuance Energy’s co-founder and CEO. “The earth anchors can quite literally be set to a sufficient holding strength in any type of soil by unskilled crews quickly and easily using only handheld tools. The resulting reduction in construction complexity and costs makes ground mount solar energy more practical and affordable at any scale, and creates more opportunities for agricultural, commercial, industrial and small utility-scale projects.”
To help meet anticipated demand, Nuance Energy is establishing a global network of steel suppliers certified to fabricate the Osprey PowerPlatform. This supplier network will enable distributors, EPCs and contractors to carry little if any inventory, experience shorter lead times, and minimize overhead costs, all of which will help further increase their profitability.
News item from Nuance Energy