What is Solar Tracker? Its Types, Cost, Pros and Cons

Posted by Waaree Energies on 7th Jul 2022

What is Solar Tracker? Its Types, Cost, Pros and Cons

Solar energy is acquired by converting the energy from the Sun's rays into electric current, which is the fastest-growing renewable energy source. Solar panels generate electricity by transforming the power in the sun's rays into an electric current. The critical problem is to maximise the capture of the sun's rays on the solar panels, resulting in increased electricity output. To increase the power output of solar power-based systems, it is ideal to use a solar tracker.

Solar Tracker System


What is a solar tracker?

Solar trackers, which position an object at an angle to the sun, boost the output of solar panels and solar receivers. A solar panel tracker is a gadget that tracks the sun's daily motion from east to west. Solar trackers are most commonly used to align photovoltaic panels with the Sun's rays and to position space telescopes to determine the Sun's direction. A solar tracking system improves energy production by 20-30% by increasing the quantity of solar energy received by the solar power collector.

  • Manual solar trackers

Manual trackers require the panel to be physically adjusted at various intervals to follow the sun throughout the day. It isn't always remotely possible because you'll need someone to constantly watch the sun and change the solar panel system's location. The panel is manually re-oriented twice a day in this approach for three orientations. A mechanical setting would be adjusted multiple times a year in such a setup, most likely every month. This option changes the daily panel orientation settings to account for the changing position of the Sun during that season.

  • Passive solar trackers

Passive trackers generally contain a liquid with a low boiling temperature that will evaporate when exposed to solar radiation. As the liquid evaporates, the tilting system becomes unbalanced, forcing the panels to tilt in the direction of the Sun's rays. It is manually held in a near-vertical position with a self-releasing tie-down at night to lower into place and track during the day when enough differential energy is available. Passive trackers are fine for simple PV systems, but not for concentrated PV systems that require precise pointing.

  • Active solar trackers

Active trackers use motors or hydraulic cylinders to rotate the PV panels so that they track the sun. Electricity is required for active trackers to move their actuators. That electricity could also come from the PV system they're using. Motors and other complex mechanical devices are used in actuator systems. It is more convenient than manual trackers, and it is simple to use.

A solar tracking system is further divided into varieties based on its direction. A solar tracker can be one of the following:

  1. Single-axis solar tracker
  2. Dual-axis solar tracker
  • Single-axis solar tracker

Single-axis trackers are used to track the location of the Sun as it travels from east to west. It has a PV surface that can be rotated along the axis to get the best angle for receiving the most sunlight. In utility-scale projects, these are often employed. Single-axis tracking refers to the movement or adjustment of the PV surface by rotating around a single axis. A single-axis tracker can boost production by 25 to 35 percent.

  • Dual-axis solar tracker

Solar panels are mounted on a framework that moves during the day to track the Sun's movements in a dual-axis solar tracker. This tracker follows the Sun's activity from east to west and north to south. Two-axis trackers are most common in small business and residential solar projects with limited area, allowing them to produce enough electricity to suit their demands.

photovoltaic solar system


How much does a solar tracker cost?

A solar panel tracker can significantly raise the price of a photovoltaic solar setup. A conventional 30kw ground-mounted solar system will cost $31,730.00–$34,300.00/Set. Depending on what you choose, tracking equipment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per panel.

Adding a single-axis tracking device to the same array becomes much more expensive and costs around $20,000. In terms of cost, it only produces 35 percent more solar while costing 57 percent more than a fixed array. A dual-axis tracking system would be much more expensive, costing roughly $590.00 at wholesale price, more than twice as much as the permanent ground-installed system.

A single-axis vertical, single-axis horizontal, and single-axis inclined active tracker can cost up to INR 10,000 in India. The Dual Axis Active Tracker is substantially more expensive, costing up to INR 40,000, but the Single Axis Horizontal and Dual Axis Tip-Tilt, Passive Trackers, can cost as much as INR 8.5 per Watt.

The pros and cons of using a solar tracker

Solar trackers are a highly convenient way to receive extra energy from the sun, but you may have questions regarding their pros and cons. The pros and cons of a solar tracker are listed below to help you determine whether it is ideal for your solar installation.

Pros of solar trackers

  • Installing a solar tracker guarantees that you get enough energy out of the peak energy hours.
  • Tracking systems follow the Sun's motion and produce more energy than fixed solar arrays.
  • Solar trackers are beneficial in locations where power supply is low at use.
  • You won't have to pay for grid energy when it's most expensive because more energy can be produced during peak hours.
  • Solar panels provide the most incredible energy when fans and air conditioners can run at total capacity in the middle of the day.

Cons of solar trackers

  • Solar power systems with trackers, which run regularly, require numerous inspections and maintenance more frequently than solar power systems with fixed panels.
  • Solar trackers are more likely to break due to their moving elements.
  • The installer can provide you with an operation and maintenance plan. However, this plan may be significantly more expensive for modules with trackers than for other systems.
  • If you decide to install trackers, you may need additional site planning and preparation, such as constructing different wiring trenches and grading the ground.

Are solar trackers worth the additional investment?

Solar tracking can significantly boost the energy production of a solar PV power plant. Dual search, once again, will produce more energy than single tracking. However, tracking systems are more expensive, increasing the capital cost. It increases the expense of maintenance because we now have moving elements that require more attention than fixed components.

Even while solar trackers create more electricity, they are usually not worth the extra cost. Because solar panels are now more affordable than ever, installing more solar panels will be less expensive than adding a tracking system.

To track or not to track?

Installing a solar tracking system will help you create more electricity in a small area if you don't have space for extra solar panels and require more energy daily. However, you are aware of how much does tracking costs. If you have more space, instead of spending money on a solar tracker, consider adding solar panels, providing more power and eliminating the need for maintenance.

If you wish to invest in solar panels for residential or commercial purposes, contact Waaree Energies Ltd. You can also buy solar products like solar modules at the Waaree Store. Compare the rates and make the wisest decision today.