It’s all in the tracking.
After many rainy days, the sun broke out last Saturday before Noon, and I was solar powered for a Silicon Valley tour. After taking pictures of the First Solar skunk works, I decided to visit the Skyline Solar, Inc. High Gain Solar (HGS) Project at the Cerone Division of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).
Strolling down the public Highway 237 Bikeway, I admired the grazing thick fleeced sheep (at least I think they were sheep) before reaching the HGS Demonstration Project. Without an agenda, I looked things over and began the return walk. Then, when I looked back, I noticed an anomaly. The HGS array column next to the building was not tracking in sync with the other three as shown in the photo. I could only recall having seen the columns track in relative unison.
|From Skyline Solar VTA Update|
I wasn’t certain anything was amiss. Despite the clouds, the sunlight appeared to be reaching all the columns. Even if the sunlight was uneven, I thought Skyline Solar’s single axis horizontal trackers would follow the expected location of the sun although I don’t know what algorithm is used.
I asked Skyline Solar the same questions, and I was relieved when Skyline Solar acknowledged a column was offline and would be back in service on Monday. Their acknowledgement saved me a bunch of technical due diligence.
Driving by the VTA along Route 237 after lunch on Wednesday, I observed all the columns were again tracking in concert. Skyline Solar tells me the column was offline because of human error. One of their technicians left the column parked after installing an update in the rain and in haste thought the column had been returned to track mode.
I don’t know if I am lucky or a harbinger of bad luck!
At Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations Fall 2009, I heard Skyline Solar CEO Bob MacDonald mentioned the company was due to break ground on another project by the end of 2009 without providing any details. I wonder if he discussed the project at the Fifth Annual Piper Jaffray Clean Technology & Renewables Conference?