In-depth analysis of solar trackers

In-depth analysis of solar trackers

A tracking system that adjusts the orientation of PV modules can increase power generation by 1/4 compared to modules with a fixed angle, and in some regions, it can even increase power generation by 40%. Figure 1 Example of solar tracking technology.

Figure 1 - Solar Tracker
Figure 1 – Solar Tracker

Usually, PV modules are fixed at the ideal angle according to their specific latitude, however, this angle is optimally selected for the whole year, which varies by 30° depending on the latitude, depending on the position of the sun in the sky. The ideal angle of a fixed PV module can produce 15% more power than a simple flat setup. Trackers, on the other hand, enable it to track the sun’s journey on a daily basis, which can also change with the weather, and is an essential component in many concentrating solar technologies (PV and thermal).

There are two basic types of tracker systems. Single-axis trackers simply rotate on one axis, moving azimuth from east to west over the course of a day; dual-axis trackers can rotate from east to west as well as vertically. Typical single-axis trackers can increase power generation by 27% to 32% compared to most modules that are fixed at an ideal angle depending on latitude, while typical dual-axis trackers can achieve a further 6% increase, compared to fixed boards. It can increase the power generation by 35%~40%.

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of single-axis trackers is Sun Power, California, USA. Sun-Power launched its new generation of solar trackers in June 2007. Compared with fixed-set systems, the solar system can be Accepts 30% more energy and reduces required floor space and setup costs. The tracker uses high-efficiency Sun Power solar panels, angled at 25°, to track daily sunlight. Features: Accepts more energy in a footprint than conventional trackers; is a pre-assembled system for quick and easy setup; uses patented single-axis technology, compared to traditional dual-axis tracking systems , less moving parts, minimal maintenance, and good wind resistance; single-axis design also minimizes footprint and has tighter spacing than conventional tracking systems; set-up scales from 50kW to large, multi-megabyte Solar power generation facility, each tracker module can generate 2.5kW of electricity, which can be guaranteed for 25 years.

For residential dwellings, Sun Power has introduced 220W all-black solar panels, which feature the highest efficiency for residential use. For commercial applications, Sun Power has introduced the T10 Solar Ceiling, a patented lightweight system where the star can be tilted at an angle of approximately 10° to capture more energy than a flat panel system. Made from weather-resistant lightweight materials, the T10’s patented design is wind and corrosion resistant and comes in different sizes to meet most roofing requirements. T10 products have been used in the United States since 2005. Recently, some customers such as Shiseido and Wa1-Mart Stores have chosen it for roof-shaped solar power generation systems. For some solar power generation facilities projects, Sun Power’s Sun Power tracker is A single axial solar tracking system that tracks the sun’s rays at 25° throughout the day.

The tracker can absorb up to 30% more energy than a fixed setup system, reducing the required footprint and setup costs. The pre-assembled system greatly reduces setup time, and the single-axis technology improves reliability, reduces maintenance, and has better wind resistance compared to conventional dual-axis tracking systems.

Sun Power announced at the 2009 Solar Power International Conference at the end of October 2009 that it has launched a new generation of sun Power T20 tracker (T20 tracker), which is by far the most powerful solar tracker on the market. Power’s high-efficiency 128-cell, 400W solar panel for maximum energy output.

Sun Power’s latest T20 tracker is a single-axis, ground-mounted tracker that follows the sun and provides the highest system performance. It is pre-assembled and is a quick, easy and scalable facility to meet site-specific needs. The T20 tracker uses fewer moving parts for greater reliability, durability, requires minimal maintenance, and has better wind resistance performance compared to traditional trackers. Each T20 tracker unit can generate up to 3.7kw, which can generate up to 30% more power than a fixed-tilt system of the same capacity as it follows the sun.

It is said that the superior design of the latest T20 tracker has been applied to more than 200MW of solar photovoltaic tracking systems in the world. The tracker is at the heart of Sun Power’s advanced PV generation facility technology, which enables the lowest energy cost for utility generation. Another feature of the new generation T20 tracker is the adoption of the new Sun Power TMAC Advanced Tracker Controller (Figure 2), the most innovative PV tracker control system on the market today. Features include real-time tracking status updates, remote monitoring and control, proprietary energy production optimization algorithms, and superior reliability in harsh environments.

Figure 2 - Sun Power's new generation of solar power generation Sun PowerT20 tracker
Figure 2 – Sun Power’s new generation of solar power generation Sun PowerT20 tracker

In addition, the TMAC Advanced Tracker Controller enables solar power plant operators to wirelessly monitor the status of the T20 Tracker in real-time through the Sun Power Generating Facility SCADA control system, allowing operators to select control series solutions from a central operation center. Sun Power will start using the new T20 tracker in early 2010 to build a large number of solar power projects.
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Spain, the 18MW O1ivenza solar power facility in Badajoz has been built, using Sun Power’s T20 tracker system, covering an area of ​​about 70hm2. According to the statistics of Sun Power in June 2009, more than 165MW of solar power generation facilities have been built in Spain, and its business in the world has exceeded 400MW. While the tracker market is still small, CPVs and CSPs will have an increasing impact on the tracking industry.

Leading solar tracker manufacturer Titan Tracker (Titan Tracker) Corporation announced on March 41, 2010 that it will produce solar trackers in California, USA to supply the US solar photovoltaic and solar thermal power generation markets. Titan Tracker in California, USA The state factory produces dual-axis Ti-tan trackers for solar photovoltaics, and will soon produce solar trackers for concentrating solar power (CSP) (Figure 3), suitable for Stirling and tower CSPs, Titan trackers can reach High cost efficiency and optimized performance for PV (CPV) and CSP.

Figure 3 - Titan Solar Tracker
Figure 3 – Titan Solar Tracker

Read more: Solar PV on Residential Roofs, Buildings and Factory Roofs