GP JOULE’s Single-Axis Solar Tracker Successfully Completes 20-year Reliability Testing

Toronto based GP JOULE Canada Corp., a subsidiary of global renewable energy company GP JOULE GmbH headquartered in Germany, announced that the PHLEGON  single-axis tracker has passed a series of accelerated life-cycle tests conducted by the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary. The Institute’s Green Building Technology Lab and Demonstration Centre confirmed PHLEGON’s long-term reliability within a wide range of environmental conditions and proved its performance in extreme northern climates.

SAIT’s Accelerated Life Test Report shows that GP JOULE’s active tracking technology provides proven results in the Northern Canadian and U.S. markets where fixed-tilt PV has been dominant.

David Pichard, CEO of GP JOULE NA EPC business said:

“Our tracking technology underwent on-going rigorous testing and qualification regimens, from the earliest stages of its deployment in 2010. We are pleased to share these latest results from SAIT confirming PHLEGON’s 20-year proven quality and performance. This gives developers and EPCs clear evidence that our tracking technology does not pose additional O&M risks compared to fixed systems or other tracking technologies developed primarily for southern markets.”

SAIT cycled PHLEGON’s mechanical components continuously 7,305 times over a 19-day period to simulate two decades of functionality. PHLEGON initially underwent the tests without environmental factors, and then went through another round that simulated extreme conditions including grit, freezing rain, and sleet. The test included a deep freeze below -20C, confirming sensitive components function under extreme temperatures.

“Freeze-thaw” tests mimicked the effects of spring and fall on the tracker, flooding moving parts with water before immediately exposing them to below-zero temperatures. The actuator, responsible for controlling and rotating the solar panels, completed both the mechanical and environmental rounds of testing — essentially 40 years without failure.

Tom Jackman, SAIT’s principal investigator said:

“GP JOULE wanted SAIT to test two things: First, how the system will operate in Alberta’s climate and second, what the cost of operating and maintaining the PHLEGON over a 20-year lifespan will be. Our testing protocol introduced freezing conditions that were not considered in their original test plan, resulting in substantial ice build-up and additional weight. All components tested without failure.”

The PHLEGON tracker will be on display at Solar Canada’s Summer Solstice BBQ on June 19th from 7:00-10:00pm hosted by SAIT. Registration required.

Source: Press Release by GP JOULE . Photo Credit: © GP JOULE .