In most cases, solar panels are set up on fixed arrays – either on a roof or a ground mounted system. In cities, almost all solar is on household roof tops.
A tracking system is somewhat more complicated to set up but allows the entire array to move throughout the course of the day and follow the sun. This means that the system will produce about 30-40% more power each day than a fixed array.
So, if they produce so much more power, why doesn’t everyone put them in?
The reason is that while they produce more power, they also add about 30% to the cost of a system.
So, from a cost per kWh produced point of view, it is almost even.
In fact, as the price of panels falls, it will become better value to just put on a bigger system, rather than a more effective system.
However, on an off grid system, one thing has a big impact that changes this and makes trackers highly valuable.
Trackers change the pattern of production, not just the total output
The normal pattern of solar production throughout the day is a “bell shaped curve” with a peak around midday if the panels face in a northern aspect.
With a battery backup system, in the periods where solar is not producing, batteries provide the power to the house.
This discharge and charge cycle for a battery is normally not a problem, as long as the discharge is not too deep. Anything more than about a 30% discharge (70% charge) level will place stress on the battery and shorten its life.
So, this is where trackers come in… they give a more even production of power throughout the day – so this reduces the stress on the batteries. Given that the batteries are an expensive part of a system (perhaps 1/3 of the total cost) then extending their life is worthwhile.
To learn more about stand alone power, please download our guide attached or call our sales team on 1300 792 011. We have specialists in stand alone power, and several of our team live “off grid”.