Solar panel manufacturers are continually improving their products to produce more energy yield per unit than previous and competing models. Solar trackers, which, unlike fixed-tilt ground-mount systems, allow solar panels to follow the sun’s path throughout the day.
Single-axis and dual-axis Solar Tracker are the two most common varieties on the market.
Solar trackers with a single axis follow the sun from east to west, revolving on a single point and moving in unison, by panel row, or by section. Dual-axis trackers rotate on both the X and Y axes, allowing solar panels to directly monitor the sun. Trackers with only one axis
Although solar tracking technology is not new, single-axis solutions have lately become the industry standard in utility-scale applications. Single-axis trackers collect less energy per unit than dual-axis trackers, but they require less space to install due to shorter racking heights, resulting in a more concentrated system footprint and an easier model for operations and maintenance.
There are two types of single-axis trackers; centralized and decentralized trackers. A single motor powers a driveline between rows that moves a full segment of panels in centralized or distributed trackers. One motor per tracking row is used in decentralized systems. There are additional trackers with motors on every piece of racking, allowing rows to be more flexible during installation and, in some circumstances, tracking independently of nearby modules.
Single-axis solar trackers were supposed to function similarly to Venetian blinds, with panel rows moving in lockstep throughout the day. Now, tracking software takes into account diffuse light, severe wind conditions, and row and horizon shading to correct for panel rows.
Because sunlight does not reach the Earth’s surface in direct beams on cloudy days, it is received as diffuse light, a panel pointing directly at the sun will not necessarily generate the maximum electricity. Panels may be stowed horizontally to catch diffuse light.
Similarly, trackers are set to stow panel rows horizontally under high-wind conditions. Newer models can adapt for larger wind loads, and system-level monitors may identify which panel rows are unaffected by wind events and allow those rows to continue tracking in some instances.
Historically, linked-row single-axis solar trackers have been difficult to install on steep, undulating topographies where grading may be required. Certain models, on the other hand, can now adjust for uneven terrain. The technology, which hasn’t had much of a presence in colder climates, is beginning to make inroads there.
Bifacial panels and their dual-sided sun production are taken into account by certain racks and tracking algorithms. Other single-axis models are made to fit modules in a two-in-one portrait layout.
Trackers with two axes
Because the Earth’s rotation relative to the sun varies throughout the year, with an arc that varies by season, a dual-axis tracking system will consistently produce more energy than a single-axis tracking system because it can directly follow that path. Fixed-tilt solar systems produce 30 to 45 percent less energy than dual-axis solar trackers. Dual-axis trackers are more commonly utilized in home and small business applications, but utility-scale adoption is on the rise. To account for the higher range of angles that the installed panels will reach, each of these trackers is put atop a single elevated post. Dual-axis trackers can handle up to 20 panels per device.
Panels are less accessible for cleaning at higher elevations. Dual-axis trackers, on the other hand, have more headspace, allowing the ground beneath them to be used for various purposes such as agriculture or even carports.
The majority of Solar Tracker comes with a five-year warranty on the drives and controls and a ten-year warranty on the racking. Companies that make tracking systems have improved their systems’ operational efficiency in recent years, including monitoring software for preventive maintenance and optimizing angles for higher energy production. Installers will be able to enhance the electricity output of solar systems as tracking technology improves.