New Mexico Patent of the Month – November 2022

Solar panels are often equipped with solar trackers that help direct the orientation of the pV modules to optimize sun exposure. Unfortunately, the solar panels aren’t always basking in sunlight. Inclement weather can be a real danger to the photovoltaic (PV) modules and harsh weather can even damage the panels. Array Technologies Inc., a global leader in clean energy technology, have designed a tool to stow PV modules when bad weather comes.

Hail is a particularly damaging weather type. The hard ice pellets can come in golf ball sizes and have been tracked as falling anywhere from 9 mph to 40 mph. Array Technologies’ stowing system uses a weather tracking system which connects with nearby weather forecasting services to look for indicators of an incoming hail event. This information informs a “stowing score” which tracks the likelihood of hail occurring within a given time period. When this score exceeds a threshold, the system measures wind direction, and begins stowing the PV modules based on this wind direction.

This active tracking of weather and automated response offers a robust strategy for dealing with extreme weather. By rotating the PV modules to an angle opposite the wind direction, the panel surfaces are protected from hail damage. Array Technologies has over 30 years of innovation experience in the solar industry, developing solution after solution aimed at improving renewable energy capabilities. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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