Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

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Given the price difference...is the investment worth it as far as additional energy generated? I'm a newbie but enjoy reading ya'lls opinions.

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  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

    i don't think it's worth it, especially now that pvs have come down in price some. much much cheaper to add that cost a tracker would be and buy that much more in pvs and you'd reap lots more power than with a tracker. besides that even if a tracker could output that much more power than a fixed system of more pvs a tracker is mechanical and will fail.
  • Solar Guppy
    Solar Guppy Solar Expert Posts: 1,989 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

    Based on current PV prices, trackers are about 3X more than just adding PV. Plus the extra PV always produces more energy in all seasons and weather where trackers vary with the season on the increase over fixed mounts. They had there place a decade plus ago, pretty much no one except a few die hards use them with new systems
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,476 admin
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    Re: Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

    "Dave Sparks"--another poster/installer here likes to use trackers for off-grid systems because it supplies useful power more more hours in a day (batteries do take time to recharge).

    In any case, take a look at the PV Watts website and you can try both fixed and tracking arrays (1 and 2 axis). See how much power you generate from each type. For derating factor use 0.77 for Grid Tied and ~0.52 for Off-Grid with Flooded Cell Batteries and AC inverter.

    Then run a very simple $$$/kWhr calculation:

    (panels+tracker+hardware+batteries+replacement costs) / (20 yrs * kWHrs/year) = $$/kWhr

    Some people have trackers that last for years... Others, I have seen, last only a few years at most and then need the tracking motors repaired/replaced. Dave Sparks said that 6 times a year with a grease gun and good components--and he find that they last for a long time (over 20 years?).

    Try this thread:

    Solar Trackers for PV -- Worth it ?
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2
    System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
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    Re: Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

    Thanks ya'll. I hadn't considered those things. Glad I asked.
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Ground mounts vs tracking mounts

    don't leave manually adjusted , movable but not tracking, out of the equation. there is much afternoon to evening energy to be collected in the summer up here.

    hth
    Eric
     
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