In ground-mounted plants, solar trackers are very common and help direct the solar panels along the direction of the sun thereby increasing production while reducing LCOE over its lifetime.

But, why are solar trackers on rooftops very rare?

Solar rooftop trackers are generally avoided because putting up trackers on rooftops is quite complex due to high wind conditions and the need to minimize loads on rooftops (trackers can add significantly to the weight of a solar power plant installation).

rooftop-solar-trackers

In a highly dynamic solar industry, an innovation that would simply the process of installation and also the cost for rooftop solar trackers wouldn’t be so much of a surprise!

In fact, a start-up called Edison Microgrids has done just this by launching a tracking system specifically designed for commercial and industrial rooftops. This tracking system claims to produce 30% more electricity generation compared to currently used rooftop trackers and 40% more than trackless plants.

In the rooftop segment, innovations such as these will be highly beneficial for large commercial and industrial rooftops, especially considering the need to maximize rooftop space for solar energy generation.

Read Solar Mango posts on Solar Trackers here, here and here.

FAQs on Solar Trackers

Should I use single axis or dual axis tracking for my solar power plant?

This depends on the region. For some regions, dual axis trackers do not significantly increase the output, over and above what single axis trackers can. Thus, for these regions, single axis trackers will be the recommended option. But for rooftop solar plants, only single-axis trackers have been used until now.

How much do trackers cost?

There are different vendors and tracking systems in the market. Single axis tracking systems could increase your upfront cost by about 10% while dual axis tracking systems could increase it by 15-20%. Thus, if you upfront cost to put up a 1 MW solar PV power plant is Rs 6 Crores, having trackers could increase this cost to about 40-50 lakhs.

What are the cost-benefit benchmarks for trackers?

Single axis trackers could increase output from the same panels by about 15-17%, while they increase the upfront cost by about 10%. Dual axis trackers have the potential to increase overall output by 25-30%, while they increase the upfront cost by about 15-20%.

How do trackers really work? 

There are two main types of trackers – Active and Passive – and each works differently to achieve the same result.

Passive trackers – these depend on solar heat to move the tracker. Depending on the heat created by the sun, which in turn depends on the sun’s position, a low boiling point compressed fluid is driven to one side or the other to move the tracker. Active trackers – which are more commonly used in large installations – use a sensor based controller that monitors the position of the sun’s movement. This controller, using a motor, in

Active trackers – which are more commonly used in large installations – use a sensor based controller that monitors the position of the sun’s movement. This controller, using a motor, in turn, moves the trackers to the right position.As they contain moving parts, will they require significant maintenance? Where there are moving parts, especially motors, you can be sure that some maintenance will be required. But these are minor activities, mainly periodic inspection and lubrication.

As they contain moving parts, will they require significant maintenance?

Where there are moving parts, especially motors, you can be sure that some maintenance will be required. But these are minor activities, mainly periodic inspection and lubrication.

 

Related Posts: