A dual axis solar tracker is the perfect way to maximize solar energy
Did you know that a dual axis solar tracker can increase your solar energy output by at least over 40 percent?
Solar energy is already the order of the day, be it a commercial or a residential property. And thanks to the readily available solar energy solutions, you hardly need to rely on the grid these days.
But despite all the advancements in solar technology, the static nature of PV panels is still a shortcoming. After all, these panels can’t function optimally in the absence of direct sunshine as the sun’s position changes.
In fact, this is one of the reasons why people still keep a grid connection for situations when solar energy can’t be as effective.
However, with a dual axis solar tracking system, you can not only make your solar panels full-proof but also 100 percent reliable. That’s because one such solar tracker will keep the solar panels pointed to the sun all day long, ensuring that your panels get direct sunshine throughout the daylight hours.
Now, you might well be wondering what exactly these solar tracker systems are and what they’ve in store for you. And if so, you’re at the right place, as we’ve created a detailed guide on solar trackers in general and dual axis solar trackers in particular.
So read on and find answers to all your questions.
What is a dual axis solar tracker?
A dual axis solar tracker is a device upon which you’d mount your solar panels in order to make them move in the direction of sunshine. And as the name suggests, it is an advanced version of the already available solar trackers on the market.
So before we have a look at the working dual axis trackers, let’s have a look at solar trackers and the single-axis trackers.
Solar trackers: an innovative solution to get PV panels moving
As modern as it might sound, solar trackers have been around for a long time. However, in their heydays, these tracker systems were only used on satellites orbiting the Earth.
You see, these trackers would move the satellite’s PV panels, keeping them positioned towards the sun. And this, in turn, ensured that the satellites had enough energy to keep orbiting and functioning since an interruption in power supply would mean the satellite’s death.
In fact, it is only lately that the R&D teams at major solar manufacturers got creative to integrate solar tracking technology into PV panels on the ground.
So how does a solar tracker work?
To put it simply, a solar tracking system keeps changing the position of the solar PV panels so as to keep them perpendicular to the sun. As a result, the PV panels are able to draw in more solar energy and generate more electricity.
Meaning solar trackers allow the PV panels that are otherwise static to track down solar energy and draw in the maximum power. This, in turn, eliminates the dependence on grid energy almost entirely.
Now, a solar tracker is usually of two types, i.e., an earlier version called a single axis tracker and the modern dual axis tracker. And even though we’re essentially talking about the dual axis solar trackers, it’s important to understand the working single axis trackers too.
Single axis solar tracker: the predecessor model to dual axis trackers
The single axis solar trackers are the earliest versions of solar trackers closely resembling the mechanical systems of solar tracking equipment developed by C Finster way back in 1962.
And as you might already have figured from the name, a single axis tracker moves your PV panels either horizontally or vertically. That’s because the single motor and the PV mount move the solar panels only on an approximate path in relation to the sun’s current position.
So you can expect one such solar tracker to track the sun’s rays either in an east-to-west or a north-to-south direction. And although this tracking pattern increases the effectiveness of your solar panels in terms of power generation, it’s not as much as compared to dual axis trackers.
Nevertheless, the single axis trackers were a good first step towards increasing the efficiency of our solar panels.
Dual axis solar tracker: a state-of-the-art solar power enhancing system
The dual axis solar trackers were a major breakthrough towards making our solar panels more effective and thus making solar power more reliable.
In fact, if the figures from a ResearchGate study are any suggestion, a dual axis solar power tracker system increases the effectiveness of solar panels by up to 75 percent.
Wondering how dual axis solar tracker works so efficiently?
Well, unlike a single axis tracker, the dual axis systems are equipped with two axes, a primary and a secondary. Herein, while the primary axis makes the panels move in the east-west direction, the secondary axis allows a north-south movement simultaneously.
The result: your solar PV panels can now move in all directions and be positioned directly perpendicular to the sun from east, west, north, and south angles.
Not to mention, depending on the type of solar tracking system, you can also have your dual axis trackers move and position the PV panels automatically.
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?
What are the different types of solar dual axis trackers?
After getting acquainted with the idea of solar trackers as well as the dual tracking modules, you may now wonder what are the different options available for dual solar trackers.
Depending on the model, manufacturer, and tracking method, a dual axis solar tracker kit can be of three types, namely:
1. Manual trackers
As the name suggests, a manual dual axis tracker needs someone to move and adjust the solar PV panels throughout the day as the sun changes its position. And depending on the type of solar energy installation, this can require anywhere from one to an entire crew of people to keep the trackers running.
For instance, while a manual solar tracker on a residential property won’t need more than one person to function, it’d call for a lot of people in large commercial settings.
In short, manual trackers might not be the best option given the need to continuously monitor the sun’s movement and manually position the trackers.
However, if you’re low on budget or you have the time, energy, and patience to run these modules, it might be worth looking into these solar trackers.
2. Passive trackers
Although not as cutting-edge, passive solar trackers are a great way to reduce manual intervention in the working of a dual-axis solar tracker.
You see, a passive dual-axis tracker usually contains liquids with very low boiling points. And once exposed to the sun’s heat and radiation, these liquids evaporate, causing the tracker to imbalance.
This, in turn, causes the PV panels to tilt directly towards the sun’s direction, ensuring that the panels produce solar energy to their capacity.
When compared to manual trackers, passive solar trackers are quite advanced in the sense that they don’t need as much manual effort. However, they are not without limitations since you may still need to change the liquid every time it evaporates and the panels change direction.
3. Active trackers
Active dual axis solar tracking systems are the most advanced avatar of solar trackers featuring motors and hydraulic cylinders to change the tracker position.
The motors on an active tracer will constantly move the PV panels so that they remain focused toward the sun. And this is way more convenient than the other two solar trackers, as you hardly need to step foot on the ground to move the solar panels.
In fact, the level of automation that these trackers offer is one of the reasons why dual axis solar tracker manufacturers are readily shifting focus from passive to active modules.
Also, it goes without saying that active trackers are the most sought-after of all solar trackers despite the fact that they’re on the higher end of pricing.
Impressive, isn’t it?
What are the pros and cons of dual axis solar tracking systems?
Like all things, dual-axis solar trackers also have their share of advantages and disadvantages. And it’s essential you understand both sides of these tracker systems before you decide on buying them.
So let’s have a look at the pros and cons of solar trackers.
The pros of dual axis trackers:
- With dual axis trackers, you need not wait for the sun’s rays to fall onto solar panels for energy production. Your panels will have direct sunlight exposure from dawn to dusk.
- Compared to static panels or even the panels on single axis trackers, these tracking systems will help generate over 40 percent more energy.
- You don’t need a lot of space to install a solar tracker. All you’ve got to do is figure out enough space for the movement of PV panels.
- This tracking system is apt for such locations that don’t get enough sunshine.
- While the upfront investment might seem to be a lot, the payback is simply exceptional.
The cons of dual axis trackers:
- Solar trackers aren’t effective at all on a cloudy day.
- The trackers need complex and equally costly components to run, which makes maintenance very expensive.
- Setting up the trackers isn’t easy and calls for a team of experts, bad news for DIYers excited to set up solar trackers by themselves.
- The lifespan of a solar tracker can be even shorter than that of the PV panels, as their movable parts often wear out.
You may also want to read: A Step-by-step Guide To Installing Light Poles.
Industry stats suggest that over 90% of all new solar installations use some sort of solar tracking system. And this trend is set to rise even further as both household and commercial solar users realize the immense potential of solar tracking systems.
Dual axis solar tracking systems: FAQs
FAQ 1. How much does a dual axis solar tracker cost?
When it comes to costing, dual axis trackers can be expensive upfront. That’s because a typical dual axis solar tracker kit can cost you approximately $26,000, which is more than the $20,000 average cost of a single axis solar tracker.
However, once you take the efficacy of the latter, the additional investment makes complete sense.
Similarly, while the cost of tracking equipment can touch upward of $1000 per panel, with the increased power generation, this cost can be easily recovered.
FAQ 2. Where to install a dual axis solar panel tracker?
The solar tracker dual axis kits are apt for both commercial and residential installations.
Nevertheless, when it comes to investment, logistics, and practical installation concerns, some residential properties might have limitations.
For instance, you’d need a large flat area for the trackers to move the panels. Also, you’d need to invest at least $500 extra on solar tracking for every solar PV panel you install.
And that together makes solar trackers out of reach for a lot of residential solar users.
Now, the same factors are no longer a concern for large commercial enclaves since they’ve got both the required investment as well as a large area. Also, such solar tracker installations have a huge potential for long-term savings, thanks to the additional energy output, making solar tracking systems all the more lucrative.
FAQ 3. Is it worthwhile to invest in a solar tracker dual axis system?
Whether or not dual axis solar trackers are worth your investment depends on the utility these trackers have for you.
For instance, if your location has plenty of sunshine and you’ve solar panels installed on the rooftop of your home, then you’ll have sufficient solar energy production without trackers.
After all, there isn’t much energy requirement in homes as compared to commercial establishments. And with exposure to bright sunshine, the PV panels can create optimum energy for household needs.
As such, it doesn’t make sense to invest $1000 on every PV panel just to get them moving in the direction of the sun.
However, that’s not the case with a large commercial building with a huge energy requirement. So an increase of 40-50 percent in solar energy production with trackers goes a long way to adequately take the building off the grid.
FAQ 4. Can you DIY dual axis solar tracker systems?
Yes, DIY installation of dual-axis solar trackers is possible.
But installing a solar tracker can be a complicated task. Meaning you’ll need a great deal of expertise and knowledge to do so.
Not to mention, such installations involve working with electrical wirings, which can be very dangerous if done without proper know-how and safety precautions.
So we suggest you get in touch with a solar installation expert to get your tracking system installed. In fact, even if you’re installing the trackers by yourself, you should do so under expert guidance unless you’ve got an extensive understanding of these systems.
You may also want to read our blog on the best solar street lights and fixtures.
As you can see, solar tracking systems and dual axis solar trackers, in particular, are all set to change the way we’ve been using solar energy.
You see, even though solar manufacturers are racing to increase the capacity of PV panels, tracking systems do so naturally by simply pointing the panels toward the sun. And apart from increasing the capacity of existing panels, this method of solar tracking is also going to complement the all-powerful PV panels of the future.
Looking to install one such dual axis tracking system on your home?
You can get in touch with us!
We have an extensive inventory of best-in-class solar tracking systems built with a combination of smart technologies and top-notch materials.
Simply put, we’ve got all your solar tracking needs covered.