First Rooftop Sun-tracking Solar Power System Installed

Ann Marie Edwards

New sun-tracking solar devices have been installed by NEXUS EnergyHomes to the rooftop of a row house residence on Federal Hill in Baltimore, Md.
The device, a Dual-Panel Tracker (DPT), consists of two 235 Watt solar panels attached to a sun-tracking mount affixed to the roof. An advanced GPS-controlled drive unit rotates the panels to follow the sun and capture 30 to 45 percent more energy than conventional fixed panels on a flat roof. DPT is manufactured by Advanced Technology & Research (ATR) Corp. based in Columbia, Md.

“With electricity prices reaching unprecedented rates, American home owners are demanding better energy choices,” says NEXUS CEO and President, Paul Zanecki. “This sun-tracker system is the first of its kind to offer higher performance results that make it that much easier to reach electric net-zero goals.”

In 2010 alone, Maryland residential customers paid an average of 24 percent (14.32/kW) more than the national average (11.54/kW per hour).

Carl Chirichella, the row house home owner and an engineer for ATR, was initially intrigued by the technology but says the financial incentives were also very compelling to him as a homeowner. He can expect to see a nearly 20 percent reduction in his electric bill with just the one dual-panel system installed so far. But he can add more at any time. Five such systems would allow him to achieve an electrical “net-zero” balance for his home—eliminating the electrical bill, and potentially offering him energy credits.

“Utilizing the dual-panel tracker is an innovative solution to generating on-site renewable energy within the small footprint that city living affords,” Chirichella says.

Financial incentives beyond the reduction or elimination of power bills include solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), clean energy grants, and residential renewable energy tax credits. These incentives combined with monthly energy savings will allow homeowners to recoup their solar investment in about 5 years. After that, the system is paid for and will supply free electric power for many years.

Company Announcement, Solar