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What is a Dual-Axis Solar Tracker

A solar tracker is generally an electronic controller that tracks the sun. Understanding that solar cells require sun to convert sunlight into electricity, one can immediately see the benefits of having a platform that solar panels sit on that tracks the sun. I can honestly only see two types of trackers really being effective (and not overkill): 1-axis, and 2-axis.

note: we’ve reviewed the AllEarth Dual Axis Solar Tracker here.

The idea is that there is no one optimal direction to point your solar panel. The sun moves, it is not static. This is, of course, different then static cell towers.

I haven’t stumbled upon a lot of 1-axis trackers, though I imagine they do exist. One could envision them having a second axis that’s not electronically controlled, but rather a lever to adjust the tilt, but the tracker would follow the sun during the day.

A 2-axis, or dual-axis tracker would just more effectively follow the sun.

Have a look at this page, the video at the top shows a pretty neat video example of a dual-axis tracker.

A graph of energy production of a fixed panel vs rotating 2 axis tracker

Produce up to 45% more energy than a fixed roof system and up to 30% more energy than fixed ground mounts. image source // www.allearthrenewables.com

 

Taking a look at the image above, we can see visually the energy production of a solar panel according to the position of the sun. Note the center faded area. This is (approximately) the performance profile of a fixed panel because the sun only being converted to energy at the solar panels maximum potential at one specific time during the day.

With the benefit of having a dual-axis solar tracker (dual-axis meaning two directions of tilt – up/down, and left/right), with the rest of the diagram, we can see that that peak performance can be captured all day long – whenever there is sun.

This leads to an increase in power output from the solar panels, which means your batteries get charged quicker and you can charge more batteries. For any renewable or alternate energy installation, this is what you want.

This, coupled with placement of your installation are two very big things to keep in mind when approaching your project.

To quote AllEarth’s website (a pretty awesome maker of these dual-axis trackers):

With a dual-axis solar tracker, energy production is at optimum levels not only day by day, but throughout the seasons. Our system capitalizes on solar resources during the summer months as well as in the swing seasons and winter months when the sun shifts lower on the horizon. Thanks to this smart technology, geographic factors no longer hinder the production of solar energy. With 360 degrees of dual-axis tracking, no energy will be lost – our system follows the sun all year long no matter where you are in the world. And with GPS technology, the tracker always orients itself to capture the most from the sun.





3 Comments

on “What is a Dual-Axis Solar Tracker
3 Comments on “What is a Dual-Axis Solar Tracker
  1. Pingback: AllEarth’s Solar Tracker « Power Generation « Review « The Electric Energy

  2. We have developed a new control system for solar systems. This is a whole new level and possibilities.
    SOLARSAN-GPS V17 (WiFi MQTT) A complex for tracking the sun based on the calculation of the data received from the GPS receiver. This system consists of a basic module SOLARSAN-GPS that can work independently and SOLARSAN-SLAVE working only as an executive device. Using SOLARSAN-GPS, you can target solar concentrators, collectors or panels at right angles to sunlight. Control is carried out with the help of actuators or rotary actuators in two planes and has an accuracy of one degree. The module has an input to connect an “anemometer” to protect against strong wind, the input of the “hail and snow sensor” and the input of the “photo sensor” for the sleep mode with low solar activity. Built-in WiFi module allows you to configure the tracker through the WEB page over a local network or through an access point. The built-in MQTT broker allows you to manage and receive data via the Internet network around the world. Power supply from 12V to 30V (and version HV with power from 12V to 55V). Protection by current. Short circuit protection. Built-in radio modem 433.92 (315.00) MHz with a capacity of 100 mW for data transmission in a radius of up to 100 meters to the SOLARSAN-SLAVE modules. Works both in one and two axes. The IP66 enclosure allows you to install a solar tracker under the open sky.

    • This sounds like a pretty rad new development, Alex. Thanks for this information. I’ll have to look more into it. I really like that focus on accuracy it seems to have, and it sounds like it can be used for many types of applications. Does it also come with mounting system? It sounds like it comes with the axis that it’s controlling..

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