Quality and reliability are not buzzwords or afterthoughts that are tested into our products, they are designed and built into every NEXTracker component and system from day one. But a high-quality product is not enough. To truly achieve the performance that our customers insist on, an ethos of quality, reliability and continuous improvement permeates every aspect of our business—it’s part of NEXTracker’s DNA.
NEXTracker puts our systems through a rigorous testing and qualification regimen from the earliest stages of development until final release to the customer. We thoroughly audit every component supplier and hold them to the same industry-leading quality standards. Our intelligent monitoring, data collection and diagnostics capabilities allow us to stay ahead of any problems before they happen and use field data to continually improve our systems. From every aspect of our product design, across the breadth of the supply chain, and continuing into the installation and servicing of our systems, we’ve ensured that customers can count on the quality and reliability of NEXTracker’s products.
Put Through the Paces
The motors, self-powered controllers, electronics, structural elements, dampers, slew drives, fasteners and other components of the NEXTracker single-axis tracking systems have been put through the ringer. Whether it’s accelerated lifetime testing, outdoor testing, factory acceptance testing or one of an assortment of other testing protocols, we make sure our products are ready to hold up to the mechanical and other stresses of producing consistently high energy yields over the 25-year-plus lifetimes of our customer’s solar systems. As a result of these efforts, we collect data about each of our components, learn what the weak points are, and design in improvements that will then get retested to ensure the parts exceed the lifetime we expect. After the systems are assembled, our robust form, fit and function process verifies that the components all work well together once installed, adding another layer to the quality assurance process.
In addition to NEXTracker’s own extensive testing facilities, we work with some of the best third-party engineering and testing firms in the world to perform thorough structural, wind tunnel, and other analyses to ensure that our innovative trackers meet the highest quality standards. As a result, our products have been certified by UL, IEC, FCC, CISPR and other organizations.
NEXTracker’s qualified suppliers must be ISO 9001 certified at a minimum, and each of them goes through a comprehensive quality assurance quality program that includes multiple audits, factory acceptance testing, conformance certifications, and other practices in line with the highest-quality standards. Before we take any new component design into production, we run it through our rigorous product verification process, making sure the part is ready for the field before deployment. We monitor our suppliers’ quality on an ongoing basis, regularly visiting, and inspecting their production lines for compliance. In addition to finding the best-in-class partners in terms of quality and reliability, we work with approved vendors that can scale with us, that can collaborate with our applications team on improving our products.
“The test protocol developed by NEXTracker was by far the most rigorous, comprehensive, and demanding set of testing we have seen to evaluate every conceivable aspect of quality and long-term durability for tracker gears. We were very pleased that our current and prior generation of drive passed this test protocol, and customers should have comfort that these gears will be providing very long services lives for this important solar tracking application,” Mark Henderson, CEO of Kinematics.
Third Party Evaluation
NEXTracker has been evaluated and certified by ETL to UL 2703, which is the standard in the U.S. for mounting systems for PV modules. UL 2703 includes construction requirements and testing for integrity of grounding/bonding and corrosion resistance. All of our key suppliers for structure, motor, slew gear, controller, fasteners, and dampers comply with either ISO 9001 or TS 16949 as a minimum.
While we’re proud of our intensive quality and reliability efforts, its only valid if you have proof. Mother Nature has put our systems to the test — and we passed those tests, and then some. Because of our robust single-axis tracker design, advanced monitoring and control capabilities, and diligent on-the-ground service team, the scores of NEXTracker projects in the path of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Matthew came through the storms with flying colors. Our customers confirmed that our trackers sustained no damage and came back into service quickly after the storms had passed — a testament to the quality and durability designed into our systems from the ground up.
Read the full blog, here.