You are here

12e Low Cost Dual-Axis Solar Positioning System with Novel Monopole and Integral Lateral Support

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019890
Agency Tracking Number: 245102
Amount: $199,996.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 12e
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001941
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-31
Small Business Information
8708 Mountainwood Circle
Austin, TX 78759-7567
United States
DUNS: 116911969
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 James McKinion
 (512) 656-3967
Business Contact
 James McKinion
Phone: (512) 656-3967
Research Institution

Small and medium-scale rural solar adoption has lagged behind traditional urban and utility-scale solar due to a variety of economic and technical issues. While the overall solar system cost stands at the forefront of these issues, there are other important concerns such as safety, dual-use applications, and the potential loss of agricultural tax exemptions that need to be addressed. A new solution has been proposed to directly address the system cost, the safety of people, livestock, and equipment, and the co-development of solar with agricultural lands while preserving the Ag- exempt tax status for the property owner. This solution encompasses a modular, single-pole system that does not require concrete for a foundation or special equipment for installation, thereby lowering labor and associated overhead costs. By incorporating elevated panels with dual-axis solar tracking, the solution provides for complementary land use with full-sized livestock and crops up to 7.5 feet in growth height creating additional revenue streams for the rural land owner. Utilizing durable, bifacial solar panels it also boosts efficiency with backside power generation to further increase the return on investment (ROI) over the system’s lifetime. Phase 1 development of this solution will demonstrate the ease of installation and removal of the modular system. It will provide for hardware and software control system development, testing, and demonstration of automated dual-axis solar tracking capabilities for azimuth and elevation. Safety of the system will also be demonstrated by the development of a safe stow mode detection for adverse wind events, design and evaluation of the system’s electrical power and grounding, verification of the system’s rapid shutdown capability, and validation of its elevated panels for dual-use agriculture and livestock purposes.Future development of the platform in Phase II and Phase III would integrate new battery storage technologies using efficient AC-to-DC coupling to provide emergency power backup for property owners and implement ancillary demand response capabilities for utilities. Using a capable solar inverter, Volt-VAR control can also be combined to correct local load reactance imbalances and enhance overall grid efficiency. Cellular connectivity via LTE-M or NB-Iot can also be integrated to support the aggregation of real-time solar generation metrics, demand response applications, and grid health monitoring with the utilities’ operational support systems. Solar, solar panels, photovoltaic, PV, bifacial, single-axis, dual-axis, albedo, agrivoltaics, agriphotovoltaics, agrovoltaics, complementary-use, dual-use, solar tracking, solar energy, solar power, rural solar, rural power, rural energy, rural renewables, renewable resource, community solar, stand- alone solar, on-farm energy, on-farm solar, on-farm renewables, on-farm PV, on-farm photovoltaics, grid metrics, grid health, demand response, VAR control, lead-lag, VAR, Volt-VAR, ancillary services.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government