What Is A Solar Tracker?
A solar tracking system is a device that operates by adjusting the surface of solar panels or surfaces that can reflect light to follow the direction of the sun as it moves across the sky in one day. The system is designed in a way that allows it to align itself with the sun’s movements across the sky through one rotation per day.
Solar tracking systems can generally be classified as systems that help in accelerating the positioning of any object at an angle that is at right angles with the sun’s orientation. This advanced invention functions to assist in positioning a solar panel perpendicularly to the illumination coming from the sun. As the sun makes its way across the sky to complete a rotation, solar tracking systems track this movement and align the direction of the solar panels accordingly to complement the activity of the sun.
Because the sun’s illumination in a single day does not remain constant, therefore, it is quite an arduous deal for a traditional solar panel to keep up most of the time. However, to combat this issue, solar tracking systems use the sun’s fluctuating luminescence to position the solar panels perpendicularly to match the movement of the sun. By applying this technique, the solar tracking system is capable of directing the maximum amount of light to the solar panel’s surface. When the panel has received a copious amount of the sun’s light, it converts it into energy that is subsequently used to generate power.
A Sneak Peak Into Solar Energy History
In the beginning, solar power systems consisted of various components which ranged from components such as photovoltaic cells, batteries, inverters, and equipment for riveting the panel to a specific location among other constituents. The incipience of solar panels came about for using stationary devices to attract the sun’s illumination for residential and small-scale commercial operations.
With the advancement in science and the rising need for a more efficient way to accumulate and harbor energy, it was decided that to produce a sizable amount of power, there was a requirement of innovation in solar tracking methods to ensure the collection of the sun’s irradiation throughout the day. To expand and ensure the efficient extraction of energy, the technology of solar tracking systems was introduced to the world.
With the invention of the solar tracking system, there has been a major development in the preference for using these devices to align solar panels directly to keep track of the sun’s orientation across the sky. This happens because situating the solar trackers in an accurate position precipitates the solar panels to operate more efficiently. Moreover, before deciding between stationary solar systems and solar trackers, it is advised to keep in mind that the position of the sun and the time of the day has a very great influence on the output generated by the solar panel.
A solar panel device is undoubtedly able to produce a substantially larger amount of power output when situated in a perpendicular position to the sun’s incoming beams as compared to the other outdated devices. Because of the newer advancements in solar technology and complicated constituents, solar tracking systems are in force to comprehend the details in a better manner, and as a result, help the panels to position accordingly to match the sun’s rays. This multiplex system comprises an arrangement that takes care of algorithms that authorize to track the exact orientation of the sun in the sky. After this step, the sensors that are installed in the system share the input details with a controller, and in turn, the controller activates a motor (usually an actuator) to move the solar panel in the desired direction. A solar tracking system is designed to track the sun’s orientation from east to west as well as to detect it from north to south, as the sun moves in the sky throughout the day and allows the solar tracking system to generate a substantial amount of energy for power production.
A Suggested Solar Tracking Solution – LoriSense Basic Single Axis Solar Tracker
The question most asked is if investing in solar trackers is worth the price or not. The LoriSense Basic, which is a single-axis solar tracker, comes with a sensor and controller. The innovative design behind LoriSense Basic lets your solar panel’s power efficiency rise to around 30%. Moreover, it’s easy to use because it allows the user to adjust sensor sensitivity on the tracker according to their needs. Also, it is designed to be robust so that it could be connected to an actuator of your choice. For more details about the product click here.
Types of Solar Tracking Systems
1. Single-Axis Solar Tracking System
The most popular types of solar trackers comprise the single-axis and dual-axis trackers. A single-axis solar tracker functions on a single axis, as the name suggests. This movement of the tracker to adjust the solar panel with the sun’s illumination only happens on a single axis e.g. north-south or east-west. The single-axis solar trackers also help the solar panels to align themselves as the sun rises and sets by arcing them from east to west. The orientation of the system that is to be applied has a significant impact on the accumulation of sunlight. To garner a copious amount of illumination, it is important to select your fit by focusing more on the degree of freedom that operates on the axes of rotation which is the key deciding factor of power output ratios besides the orientation of the tracker axis. A single axis solar tracker can generate up to 25%-35% more power compared to a stationary solar panel.
2. Dual-Axis Solar Tracking System
On the contrary, a dual-axis tracker can function on two axes, north to south and east to west. This type of solar tracking system works best in all seasons and produces a favorable amount of power regardless of the height of the sun. Moreover, this type of system is the best fit for commercial setups where there is not a lot of area for panel rotation. On most occasions, this system has been utilized to situate a reflective surface, such as a mirror, to redirect the sun’s luminescence to a fixed receiver. The dual-axis system is said to be able to generate almost 45% more energy than a traditional stationary solar panel yet dual axis solar trackers often require more maintenance so the marginal added-value (compared to single-axis trackers) should be considered carefully to be sure the pros outweigh the cons.
Guidelines for Choosing a Solar Tracker
By now, it is quite clear and obvious that solar tracking systems are far more superior when it comes to producing a considerable amount of energy to be converted into power as compared to their stationary counterparts. Single-axis and dual-axis trackers are generally considered to be the most preferable options when deciding to buy a system for yourself. A single-axis tracker is guaranteed to come with a range of flexibility that helps increase the efficiency of the axis of rotation.
Furthermore, it is also less expensive than a dual-axis tracking system and has higher reliability and a higher lifespan than its dual-axis contemporary. On the other hand, the dual-axis tracking system is exceptionally well-suited to places of high latitude.
The sun’s position keeps fluctuating during summer and winter in different parts of the world. For such cases, the dual-axis system is the more favorable option as it is more competent in detecting the sun’s presence in places of higher latitudes because it rotates on two axes.
Significant Benefits of Using a Solar Tracking System
1. Higher Reliability in Unique Environments
Solar tracking systems are given even more preference in places located in higher latitudes of the world as they are far more adept at coming across the fluctuations in the sun’s illumination and dealing with it more methodically. People living in places like Alaska, a place located in high latitude, are known to be the most satisfied and committed customers of solar tracking systems. It is important to note that a region like Alaska, which has a very unique natural environment of its own, requires high quality, durable tracking, and efficient mounting systems like solar trackers to generate energy to reduce the cost of electricity by making sustainable changes.
2. A Great Investment for Commercial Setups
Solar trackers are generally ideal for commercial setups, and commercial projects that comprise of a higher capacity than 1 megawatt (MW) should look into these solar tracking systems. As far as the issue of the high cost that may come with the installation sometimes, it is advised to keep in mind that the long terms benefits of the application outweigh the charges.
3. Hassle-Free Installation Process
Solar tracking systems are successful in garnering positive results in high latitude places, such as Alaska, owing to the yearly orientation of the sun. However, for people other than the ones living in Alaska and other northern parts of the US, the sun’s movements make it possible to install a rooftop array on a surface facing the south. They may add a single axis solar tracker in such a case for the east-west axis to boost their energy output. A rooftop installation is significantly better as it lowers costs and does not require additional yard space. Furthermore, it is also one that is largely preferred by people who are looking to purchase homes that come with a complete solar setup.
In the end, it is like stating the obvious that the condition and location of the site are the chief components you have to keep in mind before installing a solar tracker. Moreover, it does not matter if you install ground-mounted solar with solar trackers, or opt for a rooftop system with solar trackers, it is always a wise option to compare your options before making your next move.
Global Solar Trackers Market Size and Share Analysis to 2025. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.adroitmarketresearch.com/blogs/solar-trackers-a-guide-to-select-the-best-fit
McHale, M. (2015, October 15). Maureen McHale. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://solarflexrack.com/how-efficient-are-solar-trackers-2/