TrackerSled began as a response to an InnoCentive Challenge posed by an international energy company that was struggling to gain public acceptance of its utility-scale solar farms in the Midwest. Instead of considering solar farming as the exclusive purview of solar developers and multinational utilities, Larry Kearns began to develop a turnkey solution for farmers so they could own the energy-producing assets instead, while increasing their profitability. In 2020, the DOE named TrackerSled as a finalist in the third round of the Solar Prize. Subsequently, the DOE awarded a grant to TrackerSled in their Small Business Innovation Research program. TrackerSled is meeting the moment, invoking the energy transition to revitalize rural economies.
As a thirteen-time winner of InnoCentive Challenges in multiple disciplines, Mr. Kearns has proven cross-cutting abilities. As an architect, he
has worked for over 37 years in Chicago. In 1991, he co-founded Wheeler Kearns Architects, which grew from two to twenty architects, becoming the only firm to be recognized twice as “The Firm of The Year” by the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In December 2008, the Chicago Tribune named Mr. Kearns as Chicagoan of the Year in Architecture. He became a Fellow of the AIA in 2016.
TrackerSled's team is growing. TrackerSled is currently working with BILT to animate the 3D assembly process so EPCs can quickly master the assembly process. Similarly, TrackerSled is working with Sustainable Energy Advantage, LLC, which has created a financial model that farmers and their advisors can use to model profit outcomes in multiple scenarios. In the past decade, SEA has authored financial models for solar development on behalf of NREL. TrackerSled has three advisors, Roger London, Rob Buono, and Kevin Augustyn. Mr. London has worked with startups and F500 companies as a principal, investor, or strategic/business planning advisor in almost one billion dollars of transactions and awards. Mr. Buono, the proprietor of Granor Farm, operates an organic farm in Southwestern Michigan. Mr. Augustyn has over 25 years of real estate development and finance experience with several national real estate development firms and financial institutions.