Finding the right solar trackerrequires you to make decisions based on a number of variables, from the terrain and the climate to the type of solar panels you’re planning to use. Single-axis and dual-axis trackers are two of the most common styles that are available on the market; However, whilst each option has range of benefits, there are shortcomings that you will also need to be aware of. We recommend familiarising yourself not only with the advantages and disadvantages of the two solar trackers, but also with your own needs and expectations for what you can achieve with your new trackers.
Single-Axis These solar trackers have a single degree of flexibility that serves as an axis of rotation. Whilst it’s usually aligned along a north-south pathway, it’s possible to align the rotation in any cardinal direction.
PROS • They are generally cheaper than their dual-axis counterparts, which is great if you’re working on a lower budget or need to invest in a lot of similar pieces.
• They have a higher reliability than their dual-axis counterparts, so you can rest assured that your results will be accurate and will feel the need to crosscheck less.
• They have a longer lifespan than other available styles, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them often. In some cases, they can last for years without issue. CONS • They have a lower energy output during sunny conditions (when compared to dual-axis trackers), which means that they may not operate as efficiently.
• There has been fewer technological advancements, so some argue that their technology is slightly outdated and that there aren’t many advancements to be made in the future.
Dual-Axis Thesesolar trackers, on the other hand, allow for two degrees of flexibility and offer a much wider range of motion. The primary and secondary axes work together so that solar panels are pointed at specific points.
PROS • They have a higher degree of flexibility than other styles thanks to their dual axes and wider range of motion, allowing for a higher energy output on sunny days.
• They offer a higher degree of accuracy when it comes to directional pointing, leading to more accurate results. This is because you can point the panels at specific points in the sky.
CONS • They have higher mechanical complexity, which makes it more likely for something to go wrong with their operation. Having to replace or fix a tracker can be costly.
• They have a shorter lifespan and lower reliability than their single-axis counterparts. You will need to replace them more regularly and may be suspicious of results.
• They provide unreliable performance in cloudy or overcast weather, so any results gathered during such times should be discarded as likely not being correct.
Single-axis solar trackerstend to be the better choice for those working on a lower budget or in areas that experience frequent cloud cover. Dual-axis trackers, on the other hand, tend to be the better choice for areas with high levels of direct sun. Ultimately, your decision will all come down to your application – but don’t forget to consider the terrain, climate and lifespan, too.
A leading supplier of environmental simulation and measurement equipment for more than 16 years, Simultech is the number one choice for industry and research sectors across Australia and New Zealand. They are proud to be suppliers of Weiss Technik, VotschTechnik, EKO and Maastricht Instruments, all of which have rock solid reputations within the industry. Their product range covers test chambers, heat technology/industrial ovens, sport and nutritional science, solar instruments and defence – the team are committed to helping their clients make the most appropriate choices for their intended application.