Nine-year old US solar farm gets tracker upgrade


From pv magazine USA

Alamo 2 began operating in March 2014, and was originally built with a complex tracker system that moved by way of hydraulic pumps.  As mechanical failures become a steady occurrence at both its Alamo 1 and Alamo 2 plants, it was time to upgrade. OCI Solar Power, a utility-scale solar developer based in Texas, United States, served as the EPC to upgrade its 4.4 MW (AC) Alamo 2 solar farm.

The company reached out to Array Technologies, and with some brainstorming, they came up with a plan to remove the old tracker, which was a combination of single- and dual-axis trackers, and replace it with a state-of-the-art system. In 2019 they finished upgrading the 39.2 MW (AC) Alamo 1 plant, and the trick to completing it while keeping the plant energized was to swap out the tracker in sections.

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Because they were only upgrading the tracker system and keeping the solar panels and electrical balance of system (EBOS), Sabah Bayatli, VP of project development, EPC and Operations, told pv magazine that they first removed the panels and EBOS from just one section and stored them until the old tracker was replaced with the new system. Then the panels and EBOS were remounted, and the team moved on to the next section. Working on one section at a time enabled OCI to keep the plant partially energized so that it could continue providing power to CPS Energy, the nation’s largest public power, natural gas, and electric company.

OCI Solar Power is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and develops, constructs, finances, owns, and operates solar PV facilities, specializing in utility and distributed generation solar projects. The company reports that it developed, designed, procured, and constructed 500 MW in Texas, all of which are operating in the ERCOT market. In 2016 the company completed the 106 MW (AC) Texas Solar 7 project, the seventh project in the deal that jump-started large-scale solar in Texas.

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