Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations now frequently include solar trackers as crucial elements. According to EnergySage, their capacity to detect the sun’s shifting position in the sky can significantly increase PV systems’ energy gains, up to a maximum of 25 to 35 percent in some situations.
Solar Panel tracker technology has advanced quickly since making its debut on the market in the early 2010s to function in a variety of situations. Let’s examine how the most recent solar tracking technologies surpass the constraints of earlier designs to give the most benefits to solar installations.
Progress monitoring: The advantages of solar trackers’ versatility
The initial trackers’ overall utility was constrained by the need for flat, square-shaped plots of land. They couldn’t accept surrounding wetlands, drainage ponds, or pipelines, for instance, and weren’t suited for terrain with considerable undulations or irregular shapes. Placement on such unconventional websites was frequently unfeasible and expensive.
Imagine the year 2023: A tracking system may now be inserted into these terrains considerably more easily. To support current projects, two main tracker design types have arisen in the solar industry:
The Central Drive: The more conventional of the two alternatives, the central drive has one tracker positioned in the center of numerous rows of panels, and its motor drives work simultaneously.
Distributed Drive: With this layout, each row has its motor and driver; unlike with a central drive, there is no connecting drive line. These qualities make it a better fit (than central) for the irregularities and difficulties we already stated, although each type has unique advantages and disadvantages.
Panels track east to west while the torque tube faces south with central drive-based trackers. They have more pronounced constraints on their flexibility and kind of terrain when compared to distributed drives. For instance, they can only handle slopes of 6%, but dispersed tracking systems can handle slopes of up to 20%.
However, central drives also have significant benefits in other areas. First, they often require fewer routine repairs and replacements than distributed ones, making them easier to manage. Additionally, they are better prepared to withstand conditions like severe wind and snowfall, which may easily harm and impair the performance of distributed drives.
For steep slopes and varied terrain, a tracker with a dispersed drive is suitable. Compared to a central drive, it is far more adaptable. The technical restrictions of distributed drives outweigh their flexibility. It can’t load as much as a central drive can. Additionally, even while individual failures don’t have the same impact as a failing central drive, a system with a higher number of moving parts requires more frequent maintenance.
A solar system with a fixed tilt
A fixed tilt is a framework with no moving parts. Instead, to increase annualized production from those panels, the modules are placed toward a central point in the sky.
For locations with multiple obstacles, undulating terrains, or other challenges, fixed tilt is sometimes the only practical option as a solar panel tracker because it is significantly less expensive than a tracking system. Although it doesn’t produce the same improvements as a single-axis tracker, it is frequently a viable alternative and can even be used in a hybrid arrangement with tracking devices.