Applied Research and Innovation Services

SAIT tracks the sun with Phlegon®

Phegon

SAIT Green Buildings Technology team is working with GP JOULE, (a German-based renewable energy provider with a Canadian subsidiary in Toronto) and ENMAX Energy to test a single-axis solar tracker, the Phlegon® tracker. Unlike a more typical fixed-array solar system that remains in a fixed position, the Phlegon® tracks the sun. By tracking the sun, the Phlegon® generates solar energy earlier and later in the day and remains at full power longer.

Although the Phlegon® is not new to North America (it was already being used in Ontario and the U.S.), this is a new system for Alberta.

“GP JOULE wanted SAIT to test two things: one, how the system will operate in Alberta’s climate and two, the cost of operating and maintaining the Phlegon® over a 20-year lifespan,” said Tom Jackman, Principal Investigator, SAIT.

20 years in 19 days

To simulate 20 years of operation, the SAIT team ran the Phlegon® 24 hours-a-day over 19 days. This testing took place at SAITs new Green Building Technology Lab and Demonstration Centre (GBT). The GBT research area offers technical consultation and research and development resources, including building-integrated solar and water technologies as well as green materials fabrication, prototyping, and product testing.

During the test, they subjected the Phlegon® to rain, ice, and other weather representing operating conditions in Alberta. Just to ensure they had truly run the system through its paces, they ran the experiment twice.

“It was a great experience working with the SAIT team and we were happy with the result. The Phlegon® had no problem handling whatever weather conditions SAIT could throw at it, and the test showed that maintenance costs were minimal,” reported Cornelis Koster, Business Development Manager – Western Canada, GP JOULE Canada Corp.

Stayed tuned, over the next few months, there will be more news to come from SAIT, GP JOULE, ENMAX Energy and the Phlegon® tracker.

Read more on GP JOULE:  GP JOULE breaks ground in Minnesota’s community solar market.