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How to Install Dual-Axis Solar Tracking Units (DAT)

This page is updated as new information is added.

1) DAT Unit Installation Location:

The ideal installation location is in an area that captures the most amount of the Sun's rays, preferably an area without shading from Trees, Buildings & Terrain etc.

If there happens to be some partial shading, you could consider using half-cut & half-cell Module technology, as they are designed to improve harvesting in areas with partial shading.   Click-Here to see other Solar module types.

In the Sydney region a DAT installed in a clear area free of shading, will harvest approx. 11 hours of Peak Sunlight per day, and the further South of the Equator you live the more energy a DAT unit will harvest, due to the axis of the sun through the sky!

This is the main reasons Fixed Tilted Solar can ONLY capture 4~5 hours Peak sunlight per day, as the obscure angle of the sun on the panels greatly reduces the amounts of energy harvested, where this image shows the difference a DAT unit harvests an additional 5+ hours of sunlight per day.

2) DAT Foundation Type:

Installing the foundation for a DAT unit is considered the most difficult part of the installation.

There are Three main types of foundations as follows;

  1. Foundation Pole Concreted-in:
    Is the simplest & easiest Foundation to install;
    1. DAT-4 unit requires a 90cm~130cm Foundation Pole, using 50~60cm x 110~150cm deep hole.
    2. DAT-8 unit requires 130cm~230cm Foundation Pole, using 50~60cm x 150cm~250cm deep hole.
    3. DAT-15 unit requires 230cm~300cm Foundation Pole, using 50~90cm x 250cm~330cm deep hole.

    All foundation Poles should have 30cm of concrete beneath the bottom Flange to take the vertical load, we recommended that a few rods of Reo Bar be simply laid horizontally 2cm into the top of the first 30cm float.  The 30cm float will stop potential sinking over time.  Keep in mind, a higher Main Mast the higher the solar panel ground clearance will be, and this creates more force in high wind conditions, so the deeper the Foundation Pole the better.
    NB: If required a foundation pole can be cemented into a free-standing Cement block, for easy re-location on a DAT if required.

  2. Spider Foundation using Ground Screw:
    Is the latest & greatest foundation technology, as it acts like the roots on a Tree, spreading the load across a larger area, and this foundation type does NOT require any Cement, obviously the Ground Screws hold the DAT unit in place, ground screws are manufactured for Sand, Soil, Clay & even Rock.   The Ground Screws are screwed into the ground with either a Portable geared, High-Torque electric drill or a commercial Hydraulic driver mounted on a Excavator/Tractor, make the job a lot Easier, Quicker, Better than a Concrete foundation block, and ground screw foundations use less resources & can be operational on the same day!
  3. Concrete Foundation Pylon or Block:
    A Concrete Foundation Block or Pylon are the traditional time consuming method used for DAT larger than a DAT-15 unit, requires a deeper & heavier Concrete foundation, remembering Cement needs to cure for 7~14 days before assembling the weight of the DAT unit.

3) Electrical Cabling & Conduit:

Electrical Cabling run from the DAT to the Inverter can be done several ways, from laying XLPE (steel wired Armoured Cable) wire cabling can be run above ground or buried, normally wiring is buried in Conduit, the buried method is best and it also reduces the energy losses over long distances, the easier method is to run conduit suspended on fencing wire between star picket posts, installing this method, UV stable conduit should be used.

However, the best way is to run the wiring in Buried Orange Conduit, the legal depth is minimum 60cm deep with Warning Tape laid 20cm above the Conduit to tell anyone digging that there are power cables below.

If the DAT Control box uses 240V, we advise you run 15A Cabling you can purchase from most Caravan outlets, as it is usually cheaper & better suited for the job.

IMPORTANT: You should ONLY use DC isolator switched on DC Wiring ! Largely due to DC voltage being able to arch across AC isolator contacts and burn out the switch, as the contact posts on AC switches are closer together.

DC isolator switches are only a few extra $, DC wiring is NOT up-to-code unless DC isolator switches are used.

The added advantage of running wiring in conduit, it allows you to add additional wiring if you later decide to add additional DAT's or even a Wind Turbine.

If you are installing Ground mounted DAT units where the Voltage is configured higher than 120V DC or 50V AC, supposedly the new OHS laws now require that all Exposed electrical wiring Not in conduit & within reach of people, the DAT’s are required to be Fence off.

With regards to XLPE cable (steel wired Armoured), this can be laid over the ground, however if carrying above 120 volts DC or 50 volts AC, it must be buried in the ground or in conduit complete with Safety tape as above.

4) DAT Performance:

Dual-axis Solar Trackers harvest the most energy than ANY other Racking type, DAT Racking is more complex, and are more expensive to purchase & Install.

However, the big pay-off is a DAT Harvests Energy for over double the hours per day, and requires approx. 1/2 the solar panels, all whilst providing a 25% return on investment than Fixed Racking to harvest the same energy.

Example: A DAT-8 (8 panels) harvests the same energy as 22 solar panels on a Fixed Tilted Roof-top or Ground mounted racking, all due to Peak sun's energy only striking Fixed roof or ground mounted panels for just 4~5 hours per day, where a DAT racking captures 11+ hours energy harvesting per day! 

Our DAT Kits are purposely over-engineered, each DAT come a minimum 20cm diameter thick walled Mast, Stainless Steel Control box housing with east~west Tracking via heavy duty 24V Slew-bearing and north~south Tilt Tracking via a 24V Linear Actuator.

These DAT studies shows how Dual-axis Trackers commonly re-pay the initial investment cost in 3~4 years, depending on the system, this is done by replacing your energy/power bill and self consuming all the energy produced, this can only be done when you incorporate Energy Storage, then the system owner will no longer have a energy bill for the next 25+ years, obviously having the correct energy storage capacity is the turn-key part of a system.

What great about a Energy Storage ? It first & foremost store what would normally be wasted/excess energy for later consumption.   So basically, any excess energy not consumed is first sent to charged your batteries to full capacity - then during the day you have the choice to automatically sell any remaining excess energy to the State Grid for a feed-in tariff - This simple means that at sun set you will be consuming your own energy from your Batteries until sun-rise, thus eliminate paying the retail price for energy after sun set & during the day - That is how you become energy independent !

Installing Dual Axis Trackers & Equipment

Dual Axis Movements. Dual Axis Movements.   Dual Axis Movements.

90cm~130cm Foundation Pole should have 20~30cm of cement under the bottom flange, to prevent sinking.

 

If using an Auger a 40~60cm diameter foundation hole is required, and should be 30cm deeper than the foundation pole cemented length.

 

The top Flange of the foundation pole should be just above ground level, if not installing in a block of Cement.

Dual Axis Slew Drive.   Dual Axis Slew Drive.   Dual Axis Slew Drive.

DAT-4 Unit:

Wide stand, with 90cm Mast, +90cm Tilt Mast.

Click here to see DAT-4 Kit.

 

DAT-4 Unit:

Narrow stand unit, morning angle position, with 130cm Mast, +90cm Tilt Mast.

 

DAT-8 Unit:

8x 60cell Solar Panels with 90cm Mast, with Slew Bearing and Linear Actuator.

NEW Dual Axis Tracker.   NEW Dual Axis Tracker.   NEW Dual Axis Tracker.

DAT-15 in Stow position

 

Spider Foundation

Dina-Bolt to Concrete slab.

 

Ground Screw Foundation

Foundation for Soil, Clay or Rock.

NEW Dual Axis Tracker.   NEW Dual Axis Tracker.   NEW Dual Axis Tracker.

Rotational Stop Kit:

inc. Wires, Bolts & Bracket.

 

GPS sensor:

inc. Wires, Bolts & Bracket.

 

WIND Speed Sensor:

inc. Wires, bolts & Bracket.

Soil Ground Screw.   Rock Ground Screw.

Ground Earth Screws

Ground Screws are manufactured in various lengths, diameters and are suitable for different ground conditions from Sand, Soil, Clay and special Rock screws are available.

Page last updated: 08-Jun-2020.

 

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