December 8, 2008 California based Premier Power Renewable Energy Inc has announced that it has reached the halfway point in completing the United States largest system of bi-directional solar trackers in Richmond near San Francisco. A solar tracker is a device onto which solar panels are fitted which tracks the motion of the sun across the sky - ensuring that the maximum amount of sunlight strikes the panels throughout the day. The beautiful thing about this project is that clean energy is being produced on previously unusable contaminated land.

The installation includes 90 "Meca Trackers", each with a peak power of around 11 kW, giving a total of almost 1MW power output. The annual power output of the project is estimated to be more than 2000 MWh.

The Meca Trackers project is located on the West County Wastewater District in Richmond. As much of the area is contaminated and cannot be disturbed, installation had to be done above ground. Each tracker and panel array is mounted on concrete platforms that are specifically designed to be used in wetlands. Premier Power have managed to overcome the massive engineering challenges that had already been attempted by two other companies.

Part of Premier Powers' success can be attributed to its international operations. The Meca trackers are jointly developed by ET Solar (a Nanjing-based solar power solution provider) and Meca Solar (one of the top tracking system manufacturers in Europe).

Each Meca tracker incorporates an innovative dual-axis tracking system, which is controlled by an astronomical program that automatically adjusts the solar panels based on the calculated location of the Sun. This enables the trackers to generate up to 40% more electricity than conventional, fixed-mounted systems.

The project is expected to be operational by the 15th of January 2009.

Kate Seamer