FTC Solar introduces automated hail stow for solar tackers

FTC Solar has developed a hail stow strategy that positions solar modules to minimize the impact of hail and wind, based on a collaboration with VDE Americas.

From pv magazine USA

Hail can cause significant damage to solar installations and is the root cause of half of insured project losses, according to risk expert VDE Americas. While hail cannot be avoided, damage can be prevented by tilting solar modules on a tracker, called stowing, turning the modules away from the hail.

FTC Solar, a Texas-based solar tracker specialist, has introduced the Automated Hail Stow Solution. It uses meteorological data to automatically stow solar modules when a hail storm is on the horizon.

After collaborating with VDE Americas on studying the impact of hail events on solar installations, FTC Solar developed a hail stow strategy that positions solar modules to minimize the impact from direct hail and wind.

The automated hail stow solution integrates with FTC Solar’s Sunops, a cloud-based PV asset monitoring solution designed to manage and improve solar asset performance. FTC reports the software considers factors like advanced tracking algorithms and appropriate tracker stowing for extreme weather events.

Ken Kozizki, chief marketing officer of FTC Solar, told pv magazine USA that the tracker quickly moves to >50 degree hail stow with modules facing away from the wind in response to the meteorological predictive data. The hail-stow algorithm is driven by meteorological data that FTC gets from an industry-leading third party provider, and weather conditions are analyzed using multiple radars that combine to form an accurate forecast for a single location.

There is also a feature that allows the plant manager to manually move to the nearest high angle stow to further reduce stow time, Kozizki said. Stow thresholds can also be customized, based on risk appetite and site location, including factors such as hail size, probability and radius.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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