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solar tracker cost

Is A Solar Tracker Worth Your Investment?

Solar trackers let your solar panels to follow the sun's path in the sky, precisely like a sunflower, so that they can create more solar power. However, solar tracking systems carry a high price tag.

Is the additional solar power output value the extra cost of a solar panel? Typically, it makes more sense to install more solar panels.

Below, we explain everything you will need to know about solar trackers, from what types you will find to whether or not they are a worthwhile investment.

Solar Tracker

A solar tracker is a system that follows the sun as it moves across the sky. When solar trackers are combined with solar panels, the panels may follow the route of sunlight and produce renewable energy that you use.

Solar trackers are often paired with floor mount solar systems, but lately, rooftop-mounted trackers have come onto the market.

Typically, a solar tracking device will be connected to the racking of the solar panels. From that point, the solar panels will have the ability to move together with sunlight's movement.

The way a solar tracking system moves is determined by the sort of system it is. There are 3 types of sun-tracking systems:

1. Manual Solar Trackers

Manual trackers need someone to adjust the panels several times during the day to follow the sun. This is not always practical, as you will need someone to continually monitor sunlight and adjust the solar panel system's position.

2. Passive Solar Trackers

Passive trackers comprise a liquid with a low boiling point that will vanish when exposed to solar radiation. When the liquid dissipates, the lean system gets imbalanced. This imbalance makes the panels to lean towards the direction of the sun's rays.

3. Active Solar Trackers

Active trackers rely on engines or hydraulic cylinders to adjust the position. The inactive motors trackers will move the PV panels so they're facing the sun. Though this is more suitable than manual trackers, the moving components inside the motors could easily break. This may result in higher maintenance costs over the lifetime of this machine.

From there, solar trackers could be categorized further, based on which direction they move. A solar panel may be either:

  • Single-axis solar panel
  • Dual-axis solar panel
solar tracker cost

Single-Axis Solar Tracker

Single-axis trackers follow the position of the sun as it goes from east to west. These are usually utilized in utility-scale projects. A single-axis tracker may boost production between 25% to 35%.

Dual-Axis Solar Tracker

This tracker monitors the sun as it goes east to west and follows it as it moves from north to south. Two-axis trackers are more prevalent among residential and small commercial solar projects that have limited space to produce enough power to fulfill their energy needs.

Dual-axis trackers can increase energy production by roughly 40%.

How Much Does A Solar Tracker Cost?

Solar trackers can significantly increase the expense of a photovoltaic solar setup. A standard 4 kilowatts, the ground-mounted solar unit will cost about $13,000. The tracking device can cost anywhere from $500 per panel to over $1,000 per panel.

If you included a single-axis tracking system on precisely the same array, it would drive up the cost to approximately $20,000. That's a premium of 57% over the fixed array expense for only 35 percent more solar output.

A dual-axis monitoring system would cost much more, coming out to about $26,000. That's double the price of the whole fixed floor-mounted system!

What Are Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Solar Panel?

Just like everything else, solar trackers have advantages and disadvantages.

solar tracker cost

Advantages of Solar trackers

  • Tracking systems provide higher energy output levels than fixed solar arrays since they can follow the sun's movements.
  • The wide variety of trackers available from manufacturers such as Allearth Solar and Initial Sunergy makes it feasible to discover a unit that's best for your needs.
  • Solar trackers are extremely valuable in areas with Time of Use electricity rates. More energy will have the ability to be generated during peak hours, so you won't need to cover grid energy when it is most expensive.

Cons of Solar Trackers

  • Solar trackers are extremely costly and can easily double job expenses.
  • Solar trackers comprise moving parts, so they're more likely to break. This contributes to higher maintenance costs.
  • Deciding to set up trackers may need additional site preparation and planning, including drilling additional wiring trenches and additional site grading.

Are Solar Trackers Worth The Extra Investment?

In most cases, solar trackers aren't worth the extra investment, though they produce more energy. Since solar panels are less expensive than, it might cost less to install more solar panels than it would to include a monitoring system.

For instance, let us say you installed 15 floors mounted solar panels, which had a power rating of 300 watts. The total cost of the system would be $14,625.

Now, let's say you wanted to get a single axis solar panel within this system. That would cost an additional $500 per solar module. That is $7,500 only for the tracking equipment. Installing double-axis tracking devices would cost you an additional $15,000!

The systems with tracking equipment would indeed produce more power than the fixed system. But are the extra savings worth the enormous additional costs of tracking equipment?

You would spend an additional $15,000 for a tracking system, and in return, just get an extra $440 in savings per year. The payback period for the solar system would jump to nearly 20 years!

Instead, you could install 6 extra solar panels and create the exact same quantity of power that a dual-axis system would. The best part is, you'd simply need to spend an additional $5,850 to increase the number of panels on your solar power system.

To Track Or Not To Track?

In almost all scenarios, particularly for residential solar systems, solar trackers aren't worth the extra investment. This is the reason solar trackers are not widely utilized in the residential solar sector.

Where solar trackers do become useful is if you have limited space for an installation. If you don't have the space for extra solar panels, setting up a solar tracking system would make it possible for you to create more power in a limited area. Solar trackers can also be useful in large scale utility or commercial installations.

It's essential to speak to a nearby solar installer to discover just how much a solar monitoring system will cost you. You may utilize our solar panel to get an idea of the purchase price of solar locally and how much making the switch to solar may save you on your electrical bill.

Key Takeaways:

  • Solar tracking systems let solar panels to follow the sun's path in the sky to generate more solar power.
  • While solar trackers will raise the solar panel system's energy generation, they're costly and could double the expense of installing solar panels.
  • It is often more economical to install more solar panels to improve the system's energy output than to set up a solar panel.
  • If you have confined space and can't install more solar panels, then a solar panel may be the best option for you.

About the Author David Roberts

I'm a Mechanical Engineer who's obsessed with solar energy and sustainable living.

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