PROJECT PROFILE: Sunfolding, Inc (T2M2)

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Funding Opportunity: Technology to Market 2
SunShot Subprogram: Technology to Market
Location: San Francisco, CA
SunShot Award Amount: $2,000,000
Awardee Cost Share: $2,000,000

This project is further developing a modular, single-axis tracker system powered by air pressure in polymer bellows that has the flexibility and installation simplicity of a fixed-tilt system. The key is a distributed, mass-manufactured drive system with shared control. This tracking system opens up new opportunities to significantly reduce component costs, improve efficiencies in construction and site design, and improve long-term reliability for all tracking solar projects. This project will build upon the demonstrated technical successes by applying advanced U.S. manufacturing and automated assembly techniques to achieve significant cost reductions.

Approach

The project team will significantly reduce costs and improve manufacturability by combining many separate structural pieces into stampings. These high-volume manufacturing components reduce the total part count and material content while enabling higher manufacturing productivity. In addition, they will improve the bellows blow-mold processing to reduce cost by improving cycle time, reducing material waste, reducing inspection time and limiting uncaught defects that would impact product performance and total cost of ownership.   

Innovation

This project will bring a redesigned single-axis tracker powered by air pressure in polymer bellows one step closer to commercialization. This technology will reduce the levelized cost of energy through increased output compared to fixed-tilt systems. It also carries a lower cost compared to other trackers. The new modular tracker architecture also supports more efficient land use, and will boost the U.S. manufacturing market.