Ever look at giant solar carports and wonder “Wouldn’t they be more effective if they followed the sun?” “Why can’t someone make something that allows them to follow the Sun?” Well, someone has. Scarlet Solar.
Most solar tracking systems you see are complex with chains and gears. Complexity means more cost and more chances to break. Trackers are significantly limited by the weight of solar panels, so most available ones are not practical for large carports. The conventional wisdom is that tracking systems cost vs benefit is not as appealing as just adding more stationary panels.
But Scarlet Solar is looking to change that with the SolarTiltPort. Scarlet Solar is a recent graduate of our CEO Crash course and is touring with their TiltPort to demonstrate it. TiltPort uses a simple technology (a jackscrew) to create a significantly better product. We went out to their demo location near Rio Vista and it is impressive, tilting a massive solar array 30 ft in sweeping wind above us. (The wind actually cools the panels making them even more efficient.) It was impressive. The installation has been in operation for 2 years and beat production expectations generating 2,032 kWh/kW in 2018.
The big solar carports are an ideal opportunity for Scarlet Solar. They are usually tilted at a fixed angles depending on the location. This limits the harnessable energy available, as the panel is rarely pointed right at the sun. Scarlet Solar’s TiltPort has the ability to tilt at (+/-) 30 degree angle to the sun’s direction, facing East in the morning, West at night. It generates a 40% increase in electricity production for the same cost of a stationary system and can support multiple panels, making it more scalable.
The TiltPort is customizable, from hundreds of units for corporations to waterproof sheds powering farms. Each 10-car-size, 36KW, Plug-n-Play unit is installed in hours versus weeks with traditional carports. Scarlet Solar exhibited at the recent solar Power International show and got a warm reception from several interested customers. Now they are looking for seed money and a production facility.
Scarlet will be presenting at our next MeetUp on December 5 at Hacker Lab. Be sure to come!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Osato Evbuomwan is a CSU Sacramento Mechanical Engineering Graduate Student who is the newest associate at CleanStart. Growing up in Nigeria with smog from backup diesel/ gasoline generators inspired Osato to work towards building a sustainable future for the world.