A solar tracker is a device that tracks the sun’s movement throughout the day. By coupling solar trackers with solar panels, you can maximize renewable energy production allowing the panels to seamlessly track the sun’s path, resulting in an abundance of energy at your disposal.
Rooftop-mounted trackers have recently emerged in the market as a new alternative to the traditional pairing of solar trackers with ground-mount solar systems. Solar tracking equipment is usually attached to the racking of solar panels so that they can effectively follow the movement of the sun.
Types of Solar Trackers
The movement of a solar tracking system depends on its type. Three types of sun tracking systems are as follows:
1. Active Solar Trackers
In order to change position, active trackers heavily depend on motors or hydraulic cylinders. The motorized active trackers ensure that the PV panels constantly adjust their position to face the sun.
Although this technology offers greater convenience compared to manual trackers, the fragile components inside the motors pose a potential risk of malfunction. This may result in increased maintenance expenses throughout the system’s lifespan. It is of two types:
A) Single-Axis Solar Tracker – This system follows the sun from east to west and is usually used in utility-scale projects. With a single or mono-axis tracker, there could be a 25% and 35% increase in production.
B) Dual Axis Solar Tracker – This tracker follows the sun from east to west and north to south. It is mostly preferred for small commercial projects with limited space and residential systems. Dual-axis trackers can boost energy production by up to 40%.
2. Passive Solar Trackers
It contains a liquid with a low boiling point that evaporates when exposed to sunlight and an imbalanced tilt system due to liquid evaporation. The lack of balance results in the panels tilting toward the direction where the sun’s rays are shining.
3. Manual Solar Trackers
They need some extra force to move the panels multiple times a day to track the sun. Constantly monitoring the sun and adjusting the position of the solar panel system can be impractical in certain situations.
Also See: What is a Solar Kit?
Pros and Cons of Solar Tracker
The following are the advantages and drawbacks of trackers.
- Tracking systems produce more energy by following the sun’s movements.
- With a wide range of trackers offered by top manufacturers, you can effortlessly find the perfect position to optimize solar production.
- By generating more energy during peak hours, you can avoid paying for expensive grid energy.
- Solar trackers can be quite costly, often leading to a significant increase in project expenses.
- Solar trackers have moving parts, which increases the chances of them breaking. As a result, maintenance costs are higher.
- Installing trackers may involve additional site planning and preparation, such as digging extra wiring trenches and performing additional site grading.
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