Scaling up: Behind-the-scenes moves have readied Solar FlexRack to supply larger projects

Sapphire Solar Project

Sapphire Solar Project, a 2.47-MW install in Lake City, S.C., using Solar FlexRack’s TDP 2.0 Solar Tracker.

Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is a supplier of custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis solar tracker systems. The Youngstown, Ohio-based company basically handles everything involved in large-scale solar mounting, specializing in full turnkey packages that include all of the engineering, geotechnical and pullout testing plus field, layout and installation services.

But you probably already know all of that. What you might not know is the company is quietly expanding beyond its project size sweet spot (previously in the 10 to 30 MW range), and is now also competitive in the 100 to 150 MW range.

This effort started with the 2.0 updates to its Turnkey TDP tracker, which boosted the maximum modules possible per row from 60 to 90 and increased possible rotation from 90 degrees to 110 degrees, achieving a balanced system by placing the slew drive higher than the axis of the torque tube. All of these advancements were super important to cater to 1,500 volt systems, which have string sizes of 27, 28, 29 or 30, which translates to three strings of 81, 84, 87 or 90.

“I don’t think we lost deals by not having this, but it certainly opened up more of the market for us,” says Steve Daniel, EVP of sales and marketing for Solar FlexRack.

In the year following the release of TDP 2.0, the ISO 9001 certified company continued to examine its internal processes, focusing on areas that don’t get the headlines – stuff like tightening inventory, budget management, logistics and supply chain streamlining. Those updates continued to broaden its capabilities to serve larger clients and project sizes.

“As we continue to improve our operations, we become more efficient and cost competitive,” Daniel said. “The added value for our clients allows us to prove our worth with increasingly larger projects. It’s a constant state of evolution, and that’s a good thing.”

— Solar Builder magazine


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