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Solar Tracker

What Is a Solar Tracker and How Does It Work?

Solar trackers help your solar panels move with the sun, like a sunflower following the sun across the sky. This allows the panels make more solar power, but these trackers are expensive.

Is it worth paying more for a solar tracker to get more solar power? Usually, it’s better to add more solar panels instead. In this article, we’ll discuss what solar trackers are, the types of solar trackers, and how solar trackers work.

What is a solar tracker?

A solar tracker is a device that automatically lines up solar panels or solar mirrors toward the sun to maximize the quantity of sunlight absorbed during the daytime. A solar tracker enhances the operational efficiency of solar energy systems by maintaining solar panels continually pointed toward the sun. Due to their dynamic orientation, which allows them to get sunlight at the proper angle, solar trackers gather a far more significant amount of solar energy than fixed, static solar systems.

There are different types of solar trackers, and each one tracks the sun’s movement differently. These include custom designs, dual-axis trackers, and single-axis trackers. These devices are frequently used in large-scale solar projects, such as solar farms and concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, to enhance energy output and improve system performance.

Types of Solar Trackers

Solar trackers are available in different types, all of which are designed to enhance the solar energy absorption according to preset standards. Some types of solar trackers includes:

1. Single-Axis Solar Trackers:

  • Horizontal Single-Axis Tracker (HSAT): These type of trackers follow the sun’s course from sunrise to sunset by rotating the panels on a single horizontal axis, regularly from east to west.
  • The TSAT trackers include a single axis of rotation, but they also enable the panels to tilt, allowing for the optimal angle of sunshine exposure all day long.

2. Dual-Axis Solar Trackers:

  • Azimuth-Altitude Dual-Axis Tracker (AADAT): These are trackers that have the capability to rotate panels on two axes, tracking the sun’s elevation in the sky and its east-west movement. Maximum energy production is the result of this.
  • Tip-Tilt Dual-Axis Tracker (TTDAT): These trackers employ a tip-tilt mechanism to provide precise tracking and enhanced efficiency. They also move along two axes.

3. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Trackers:

  • Heliostat: The specialized sun trackers named as heliostats are employed in CSP systems. They are generally employed in solar thermal power plants, where they reflect and focus sunlight onto a central receiver or collector.

4. Polar-Aligned Solar Trackers:

  • Polar-aligned trackers are designed for regions closer to the poles, where the sun’s path varies significantly throughout the year. These trackers follow a polar axis to adjust for the changing solar angles.

5. Vertical Solar Trackers:

  • Vertical solar trackers rotate panels vertically, tracking the sun’s elevation throughout the day. They are often used in conjunction with concentrating solar systems.

6. Fixed-Tilt Solar Panels:

  • While not technically trackers, fixed-tilt solar panels are mounted at a fixed angle relative to the ground, optimized for a specific location’s latitude. They do not move to follow the sun but are designed for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

    A solar tracker’s installation is influenced by several criteria such as available space, budget, energy requirements, location, and tracker type, each of which has pros and cons. Utility-scale solar systems often use single-axis trackers, however applications where optimal efficiency is crucial employ dual-axis and customized trackers.

What are the pros and cons of using a solar tracker?

Similar to anything else, solar energy monitors have advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of solar trackers

  • Since they can track the sun’s direction, tracking systems produce more energy than stationary solar panels.
  • Vendors like Allearth Photovoltaic and First Sunergy provide a variety of trackers options, so you may select one that meets your needs.
  • Why Locations where electricity is priced by time of use benefit most from solar trackers. They can generate extra energy during times when demand is highest, decreasing your dependency on pricey grid electricity.

Cons of solar trackers

  • Solar trackers are expensive and may cause the project’s overall costs to quadruple.
  • Because solar energy monitoring devices include moving components, they are more likely to malfunction, raising maintenance costs.
  • If you decide to install solar trackers, you might need to do more site preparation and planning work, such construct more wiring trenches and grade the site more thoroughly.

How does a solar tracker work?

Solar trackers work by adjusting the orientation of solar panels or collectors to continuously face the sun as it moves across the sky during the day. This tracking capability helps maximize the amount of sunlight that the panels receive, increasing the overall energy production of a solar system. The specific functioning of solar trackers can vary based on their type, but here is a general overview of how they work:

Light Sensors or Control Systems

Most solar trackers are equipped with light sensors or control systems that monitor the position of the sun in the sky. These sensors detect the sun’s direction and intensity.

Orientation Adjustment

Based on the data from the sensors, the solar tracker’s control system calculates the optimal angle and orientation for the solar panels to face the sun directly.

Mechanisms of Movement

The solar panels can be moved by solar trackers thanks to their mechanical or motorized systems. These systems can change based on the kind of tracker. As an illustration:

  • Single-Axis Tracker: To follow the movement of the sun from east to west during the day, a horizontal single-axis tracker usually spins the panels along a single horizontal axis, from east to west.
  • Dual-Axis Tracker: A dual-axis tracker is able to track the elevation of the sun in the sky in addition to east-west movement. It does this by rotating panels on two axes. More accurate tracking is made possible for optimal energy absorption.

Constant Adjustment

The solar tracker constantly moves the solar panels to maintain their alignment with the sun rotation the day. This minimizes the angle of incidence and maximizes energy absorption by ensuring that the panels get sunlight at the ideal angle.

Enhanced Efficiency

Solar trackers greatly increase the efficiency of solar energy systems by following the sun. Directly facing solar panels have the potential to produce more heat or power than fixed panels, which are immobile and may not always be positioned perfectly.

Evening Reset

When the day comes to a the end, some solar trackers could go back to their “morning” setup, prepared to follow the sun once more in the morning.


In conclusion, solar trackers work by utilizing sensors and control systems to modify the angle at which solar panels or collectors are oriented so that they are constantly facing the sun. Large-scale installations where optimizing energy production is essential will find solar energy systems especially helpful due to their dynamic tracking, which maximizes energy capture and boosts total system efficiency.

Adding solar trackers from “Just Doing Solar” to your solar energy system has a lot of advantages. They consist of higher energy output, improved system effectiveness, flexibility in various geographic settings, and a quicker payback period.

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