Nextracker selects Vallourec for solar tracker project in Brazil In partnership with Nextracker, Vallourec won its first contract in May 2022 for a photovoltaic project in northeastern Brazil.

10/18/2022 - Energy transition

In partnership with Nextracker, the market leader in smart solar tracker technology, Vallourec won its first contract in May 2022 for a photovoltaic project in northeastern Brazil. The solar farm is scheduled to go online in early 2023. Today, three members of the team – Rodrigo Renno, Executive Manager of VSB, Rodrigo Monteiro, Sales Manager, and Patricia Santana, Sales Representative – discuss this landmark project and the perspectives it opens up for Vallourec.

Solar tracker technology holds photovoltaic (PV) panels and turns them from east to west, much like the rotation of a sunflower. This enables the PV module to follow the path of the sun, maximizing the amount of energy they can produce throughout the day. With this technology, they can see yields of up to 30% over fixed tilt applications.

Nextracker is the world’s leading company producing this state-of-the-art technology. They are no. 1 in Brazil and globally, so it’s a huge opportunity and an honor for us to be chosen to work with them on this photovoltaic project.

Rodrigo Monteiro Sales Manager

This was all made possible thanks to the creation of Vallourec Tubes for Industry (VTI) in October 2021 (click here to read the press release). This joint venture was formed between Vallourec and Incotep, a division of the Açotubo Group. Both groups can leverage their strengths in providing seamless profiled and cold drawn tubes, welded steel tubes and tubular solutions for several industry applications, including the solar segment both in Brazil and beyond.

Shedding light on the details

VTI was approached by Nextracker to provide 1,050 metric tons of torque tubes and 1,200 metric tons of cold formed open profiles to a solar farm in northeastern Brazil. The torque tubes (127 mm in diameter) run the length of each row of panels, supporting the panels and enabling them to turn to continuously follow the sun from east to west. The open profiles stand vertically on the ground and support the torque tubes at intervals. In this way, the entire tracker structure is supported by the tubes and open profiles.

Vallourec’s contribution currently represents around 30% of the project’s needs, which gets this new venture off to a strong start.

Rodrigo Renno Executive Manager of VSB

The tubes will be produced using a pre-galvanized steel coil, and the profiles will be hot dip galvanized, thus ensuring they will last for 25 years.

Nextracker selected Vallourec due to its reputation for providing high-quality tubular solutions, as well as its full compliance with international standards.

Nextracker had approached us before VTI’s inception because they knew us and were aware of our reputation for quality and compliance. Once we created VTI with its focus on welded pipes, everything just came together, and Vallourec emerged as the perfect fit to supply this particular project.

Patricia Santana Sales Representative

Unlocking the potential of the Brazilian market

Brazil is currently fourth on the list of countries most invested in solar energy. Projects that use tracking solar systems are now the most dominant form of mounting application versus fixed tilt in Brazil and globally for utility-scale solar.

The installations currently slated for construction over the next four years will eventually provide 22 GW of solar power to the grid. That is a significant increase on the current contribution of 3.3 GW and creates an estimated potential need for 300,000 metric tons of structure support (torque tubes and open profiles). By 2023, VTI aims to be providing at least 10,000 metric tons per year.