What Are Solar Trackers?

A solar panel absorbs heat and light of the sun and converts it into electricity. This is done by the photo voltaic cells present in the panels through a mechanism called photo voltaic effect. However for maximum efficiency of solar power system the panels should be able to soak solar rays maximally. To enable them do so, solar trackers are used. These devices change their orientation throughout the day according to the position of the sun and follow the sun’s path. This is done by reducing the angle of incidence. The angle of incidence is formed by the incoming light and the panel.

That is why an expert solar power installer is required to install them. These people wold know how to install the tacker correctly. All solar power systems have tackers to boost the system, which does not produce energy unless directed correctly toward the sun.

Single-axis solar: These tracker moves on a single axis forward and back ward throughout the day. These basically have servo motors with an aiming circuit. The aiming circuit has two photosensitive cells pointing east and west. These cells are separated by a vertical panel. The cells are wired together so that when sun’s rays fall equally on them, no output voltage is generated. When the sun’s light falls on one of them more amply, it produces stronger current. The motor is directed to orient the panel in that direction. When the current equalizes, the panel is pointed straight at the sun and the motor shuts off. This kind of tracker is also called active tracker. There are passive tackers as well. This tracker also depends on solar heat to guide and move the panel. Instead of a motor, they use a low a low boiling point compressed gas fluid that is driven to one side or the other to move the tracker like a teeter totter according to imbalance created in the output voltages of the two cells.

In large arrays, row of PV cells are mounted on the horizontal pipes. The control motor rotates the whole row around its mounting pipe from east in the morning to flat at noon to west in late afternoon. There are a few varieties available in single-axis trackers. These include horizontal, vertical, tilted, and polar aligned, which rotate as the names imply.

Dual-axis trackers: These face the sun continually as they move in both the directions. There are two types of dual axis trackers. They are- tip-tilt and azimuth-altitude. Dual-axis tracking is typically used to orient a mirror and redirect sunlight along a fixed axis towards a stationary receiver.

Selecting a solar tracker

Selecting as solar tracker is based on various factors. They are system size, electric rates, land constraints, government incentives, latitude and weather. In large spaces where more electricity requires to be generated, horizontal single-axis solar trackers are used. Dual-axis trackers are best fitted for household set ups and work best in locations with high government Feed-In-Tariffs. In higher altitudes vertical axis trackers are suitable on account of their fixed or adjustable angles.

Advantages and disadvantages

A solar tracker can boost the electricity production by 40% in some regions. However, these devices are comprised of a set of moving arts and gears. They require their own maintenance and upkeep. In case the tracker breaks down, the loss of production until the system is functional again can be extensive. A solar tracker is quite vulnerable to storms. They do not come with long warranties like the solar power systems. On an average tracker has a warranty of 5 to 10 years.




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