The big differentiator of TDP Turnkey Tracker is the fact that its bundled with a complete services and support package.

What makes the TDP Turnkey Tracker unique?

Steve Daniel | Solar FlexRack


Please tell us a bit about Solar FlexRack and where you fit into the solar industry?

Solar FlexRack provides innovative, solar mounting technology to the utility and commercial solar installation market. Our parent company is Northern States Metals, a leader in extruded aluminum services since 1972. Our decades of knowledge in manufacturing perfectly positions us to provide our customers with an unparalleled level of expertise and capabilities to best serve their needs.

Solar FlexRack has installed over one gigawatt of high-quality solar mounting products in North America. We have over 150 employees who help customers with services from design and engineering, project management, and commissioning to full service support.


What makes the TDP Turnkey Tracker unique?

Solar FlexRack’s new TDP Turnkey Tracker is the culmination of our learning in the solar mounting arena. What really sets us apart is our attention to our customers and our commitment to delivering the best products to the marketplace. By combining our technology, engineering expertise and customer collaboration, we were able to implement upgrades to our tracker design that simplify installation and reduce costs and maintenance.

However, it’s not just the design that reduces costs. The big differentiator of TDP Turnkey Tracker is the fact that it’s bundled with a complete services and support package. The “turnkey” concept covers a broad scope of support that can significantly reduce overall project costs and make customers’ lives easier by simplifying the project development lifecycle. This tracker comes with all the critical associated services needed for construction and that is what sets it apart.


Why did you decide to bundle the tracking technology, services, and support?

It really is the next-generation. This is what constructors of solar sites have told us they need to make their jobs easier. In dealing with other vendors, the EPC is left to coordinate multiple resources from various parties, making their projects difficult, time consuming and costly. Our approach is a proven model that we’ve successfully provided to multiple clients on our fixed tilt projects. By bundling these services into one, low cost solution, we help our customers mitigate project risk and expedite more projects to completion.  


How does the TDP Turnkey Tracker reduce costs and long-term maintenance?

With Solar FlexRack supporting the project installation, we deliver product expertise to your team to help eliminate project redundancies and accelerate installation time.

Our modular design enables the use of smaller table or drive blocks. The flexibility of smaller blocks and the absence of a center drive, allow installers to incorporate more modules in area-specific pieces of land which translates to maximized utilization on regular lots and increased capacity on irregular-sized lots. This all contributes to the reduction of overall LCOE.

As far as maintenance is concerned, all major components of the TDP Tracker System require no annual maintenance and are industry proven, commercially available off the shelf (COTS) parts. This contributes to the reliability of the system and reduces long term maintenance requirements significantly.   


What type of customers or installations will benefit from this solution?

Commercial and utility-scale developers, EPCs, and installers.


What type of support services do you offer your customers?

Our team can handle sizing and layouts, geotechnical engineering, structural analysis and foundation design, pull-testing, project management, post driving, tracker installation, panel mounting, commissioning and full-service support.


How has your company prepared to meet an increase in demand over the next year or five years?

We understand the market demand in 2016 is going to be significant with an emphasis on single-axis tracking solutions. In fact, both IHS and GTM predict that the market share for trackers in the US utility space will be three times the size of that for fixed tilt systems. We have expanded our global supply chain and brought on additional resources to ensure we have the capacity necessary to meet this growing demand.


What’s next for Solar FlexRack?

We are constantly moving forward through product innovation and expanded services to respond to customers’ needs. We believe in the sustainability of the US solar industry beyond 2016 and are well aligned to serve the market. We are also looking at addressing the needs of the market as tracker adoption broadens into other US regions, as well as globally into other emerging, international markets where our product and services can effectively meet demand.



About Steve Daniel
Steve Daniel joined Northern States Metals in March of 2013 as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Solar FlexRack division. Daniel has 25 years of top sales performance in solar and high-tech. Beginning his career as an industrial engineer with Digital Equipment Corporation, Daniel has enjoyed increasing responsibilities in companies such as Sun Microsystems, BEA, and Silicon Graphics. Prior to joining Solar FlexRack, Daniel held roles as VP of Business Development at Hyperion Systems and Chief Sales Officer at CentroSolar. Daniel has a Bachelor's of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and participated in continuing education at the Harvard Extension School in Cambridge, MA.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
Solar FlexRack

Solar FlexRack

Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is an integrated solar company that offers custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis trackers in the commercial and utility-scale, solar mounting industry. Solar FlexRack offers full turnkey packages, including engineering, geotechnical, pullout testing, field, layout, and installation services, providing a full scope of services from design to delivery and installation. Solar FlexRack has completed 2.5 GW of solar racking.

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