By Dr. Cameron Chai
Hydro has installed a precision-extruded aluminium framing system at a 500 kW electric generation plant in Durango, Mexico. This is the largest concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar plant in Latin America.
Hydro's precision-extruded aluminium framing system
The location of the Durango plant is approximately 550 mi. towards the northern part of Mexico and it is expected that the site capacity will be 10 MW in the future.
The 184 Skyline Solar X14 arrays are present in the solar plant, which utilizes parabolic mirrors in order to focus solar energy onto the crystalline silicon PV cells. The company has mounted these solar arrays on extruded aluminium space frames, which make sure they are at a level raised from the ground, and trap sunlight with the help of a daily east-west arc.
Hydro selected extruded aluminium for the frame structures, as it cost low capital, utilizes efficient material and expands in short times. Aluminium is resistant to corrosion and offers high stiffness for wind resistance, enhances robustness and system accuracy.
Allan Bennett, a person responsible for Hydro Extrusion North America unit’s solar market development, stated that the solar engineering experts worked with the team from Skyline to analyze the design and were capable of optimizing the frame design and find cost-effective opportunities.
He added that the engineering teams were capable of eliminating 40% of the structural material for use in early frame prototypes, which decreases the expenses for raw materials, production and delivery.
This CPV technology costs very low for large and medium-scale electricity producing plants, in sunny climates. These are included in the solar market’s fastest growing part.
Integrated CPV systems are manufactured by Skyline Solar and it includes single-axis tracking, strong mirrors and silicon cells. The U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense has awarded many contracts to Skyline Solar.