Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

I'm looking at dual-axis and other option to maximize my output given a limited lot size. I'd appreciate any links to a pages dedicated to evaluating turnkey tracking systems.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

    Spend the money on more panels instead. More reliable than trackers.

    There is a trend towards "virtual tracking" now where multiple arrays point in different directions to keep the power flowing in throughout the day. You can tailor the size and orientation to suit your particular needs.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,126 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?
    lasitter wrote: »
    I'm looking at dual-axis and other option to maximize my output given a limited lot size. I'd appreciate any links to a pages dedicated to evaluating turnkey tracking systems.

    http://arraytechinc.com/ They are the best at what they build
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
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  • Les NagyLes Nagy Solar Expert Posts: 121 ✭✭
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

    I think the general consensus here is that if you have the space available, more panels are cheaper than tracking if you want more capacity. Panels are probably the cheapest part of an installation now whereas they were the most expensive in the past when the designs for trackers were dreamed up. With the current prices of panels, the cost needed to "fill in" the low charge rates in the morning and evening are less than the costs of installation and maintenance of a tracking mount.

    I have no hard numbers to refer to but I did a look a couple of years ago at the efficiency increase of a tracking mount and its cost vs just adding panels to gain the solar harvest capacity during morning and evening and it was obviously cheaper to just buy panels. Like I said, this assumes you have the space available to add panels. And now that I think of it, if your situation is that you want to increase the efficiency of some old existing panels in a limited space, it might even be cheaper to just replace them completely with newer higher output panels rather than install a tracker.

    So you have said you have a limited lot size. If you are starting a new installation and really are limited to a certain number of panels then a tracker might make sense, but I am still not convinced. What area do you have to mount panels? What is your real energy need? Also, of course, where do you live?
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 759 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

    Most of the tracker users end up using them because they are spending other peoples money on them.
    Small scale and home users just buy more panels.
    If you include trackers they then become the most likely part to fail in your system.
    Water, dirt, ice, failing lube gets to them and they quit.

    There is a lot of hate towards trackers on this forum for a reason.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?
    oil pan 4 wrote: »

    There is a lot of hate towards trackers on this forum for a reason.

    No, there isn't.
    It's just practical reality.

    When panels were $9 a Watt using a tracker to maximize the output was a good idea.
    Now panels are $1 a Watt and the additional output afforded by tracking doesn't add up to good value for money.
    If you've got the "roof real estate" (area to put panels) adding PV is simpler, less expensive, and more dependable than increasing output with a tracker.
  • ChriswlanChriswlan Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

    .
    I haven't looked into it in decades, but isn't there a few small instances where trackers are still cost effective, like say VERY high latitudes, for summer use only?

    Or to do away with all 'tronics, in case of pumping water all day long (cattle watering?) to get a fairly constant power on the pump DC motor?

    As well, at lower latitudes, and for household stand alone use, I could see a small constant slope bias toward the East, to accelerate the re-charging, ASAP, (think "bulk stage") in the am, after an evening/nite of draining the batteries.

    My 2 cts

    Christian
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,146 admin
    Re: Links to tracking options and benefit cost?

    Best I can say, do a couple of paper design options and see how they work out.

    More hours of sun per day is a big help for batteries.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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