- Depending on the location and the kind of solar PV tracking being used, the current breakeven point is for systems sizes between 500 to 600 watts. The breakeven point is where the solar tracker system pay for itself and make the entire system economically positive. It will be more advantageous to use solar trackers than buying PV panels if one has six 75 watt solar panels being used with a solar PV tracker that tracks the sun from morning until night.
- Using solar trackers during summer where the panels can generate the most electricity can build electricity surplus, which may be sold to the utility in some cases that can be used to offset during winter time.
- The kind of tracker being used will depend on the location and the amount of sun received. In cold and windy places, a thermally operated system is not reliable because it is dependent on temperature to operate. Electronically operated systems are better in cold and windy places, as they do not depend on temperature capacity to move the panels.
- Solar trackers are very valuable investment as they increase solar panels’ efficiency from 25% to 40%.
This article is a continuation of our series about various topics in renewable energy. A solar tracker is a generic term that is used to describe tools that adjust different payloads toward the sun. Payloads are reflectors, collectors, optical devices, lenses or photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV systems are the primary topic of interest in this article. By tracking the sun’s motion, solar trackers can increase the efficiency of solar power systems by 25% to 40%. Solar panel systems are positioned perpendicular to the sun’s rays in order to be most efficient, as the sun moves across the sky from east to west. Solar trackers have been around since 1980. Increase use in both commercial and residential solar energy projects have proven and improved solar capture efficiencies. The increase in usage by large scale commercial industry has made it possible to lower the costs and make more reliable tracking systems for homeowners and small to medium businesses as well. Horizontal and Vertical Solar Trackers. In areas where the sun’s rays in summer vary from winter by more than 60 degrees, it is more difficult to capture summer sunlight during winter time. Solar trackers help to solve this problem via a single axis horizontal tracker that follows the sun across the sky from morning to night. This optimizes the solar performance during the summer and spring days when the sun is higher in the sky. What works best in higher latitudes are the vertical axis trackers. These trackers enable solar panels to track the sun both in summer and winter declinations. Although more expensive by $3,500 (125 square feet of solar panels) to $6,500 (225 square feet of solar panels) compared to the cost of solar installation, azimuth or dual axis trackers can solve both problems simultaneously. Active and Passive Trackers. Active trackers operate on an electric motor activated by a controller. Passive trackers use compressed gas which causes the tracker to tilt when the gas is heated by the sun. Economic Benefits of Solar Trackers.