SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--San Francisco-based Nevados Engineering, developer of all-terrain, single axis tracking systems that improve solar energy project economics, announced today that it is the recipient of $3 million in awards from state and federal agencies. The research funds included nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative and $1 million in matching funds from the California Energy Commission (CEC) through its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program.
Nevados Engineering, a portfolio company of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), has created a low-cost tracker to help solar developers build projects without the need for land excavation or grading. Leaving the terrain undisturbed results in significantly reduced environmental impact and mitigation. The terrain-agnostic tracker and control system also enables developers to use land that typically would not be considered for solar installations, including slopes of up to 20° in any direction. The state and federal awards will fund the next 18 months of Nevados’ development activities, including demonstrating Nevados Engineering’s intelligent tracking software and reducing manufacturing costs by roughly 50%.
“This is a good example of how state and federal agencies can work together to support innovation,” said California Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. “It is hoped this award will commercialize a technology that should be able to make projects more cost competitive while reducing the environmental impact. It is also a good example of the partnership the Energy Commission has made with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to bring innovative clean energy technologies to the marketplace.”
Through its previous 2015-16 SunShot award, Nevados Engineering designed, built, and is now testing full-scale rows of the tracker system on simulated rolling terrain. The pilot program, located near Davis, California, is also testing the newly developed control system which optimizes, in real time, the energy output of each row of modules. Bankability and UL studies are near completion and a wind tunnel study to design for adverse wind conditions has been completed. The pilot of four rows of 20 modules each has been operating over the last year and is exceeding expectations, according to the company.
“The world is not flat,” remarked Yezin Taha, Nevados Engineering Co-Founder & CEO, in a presentation to stakeholders. “More than one billion dollars was spent last year alone to flatten land for solar development projects. Our solution not only alleviates the tremendous cost of grading and time intensive construction schedules, but improves ROI through intelligent tracking and installation on sun-facing slopes.”
Nevados Engineering has also secured a contract for an 8.4 megawatt utility-scale solar project to commence in 2018. The project is situated on south-facing slopes, which should provide a substantial increase in power generation versus conventional flat-land tracker installations.
About the SunShot Initiative
The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at energy.gov/sunshot.
About the CEC EPIC Program
The California Energy Commission’s EPIC program supports innovative energy technologies and approaches that bring clean energy ideas to market and that benefit the ratepayers of California’s three largest electric investor-owned utilities.
About Nevados Engineering
Nevados Engineering, developers of a single axis solar tracker that allows for ground-based installation on virtually any terrain without the need for excessive grading, provides solutions to increase power generation, decrease utility-scale solar project installation costs, and make solar power an increasingly economically viable source of renewable energy. The terrain-agnostic tracking solution combines an Intelligent Control System and proprietary algorithm with a terrain-following structure to eliminate the need for moving soil. Nevados Engineering is one of several Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) portfolio companies based in the Bay Area as part of the organization’s SVCI Silicon Valley satellite offices. For additional information, please visit: https://nevados.co/
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a non-profit, public-private partnership helping promising companies deliver market-ready cleantech solutions, recently launched Energize California to support clean energy innovation. LACI combines capital, universities, research, government support, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and business leaders in order to drive innovation throughout the regional, state, and global economy. Recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI, LACI has helped 65+ companies raise $135M in funding, create 1,500 jobs, and deliver more than $335M in long-term economic value. LACI operates out of the La Kretz Innovation Campus with satellite offices in Northridge, CA and Silicon Valley. For additional information, please visit: http://www.laci.org