Inventor looks to shake up cleantech with smart solar trackers

Smart Track clean solar


I am peering through the glass window of a refrigerator-sized machine. The machine is named Endurance, if you go by the printing on its side, or Lucy, if you go by what Leila Madrone calls it. I’m watching some plastic get tortured.

It’s going through the equivalent of 100 years of life in a harsh desert climate: It’s been exposed to extreme heat and cold, and UV radiation. It’s been sandblasted. It’s been shaken around a whole lot. It suffers, because it needs to last 30 years without anyone having to fix it. Better for it to fail now, in the lab, than later, at a solar installation in some far-flung desert.

The building, in the former industrial sector of San Francisco’s Mission District, is older than it looks: it was used to make custom mining equipment during California’s silver rush in the early 1900s. Ideally, the plastic would last…

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