What is a “single tracker”?

How does it work?

To increase energy yield per unit, manufacturers are continually improving their single panels. Single tracker are another proven method to increase system output. These, unlike fixed-tilt ground mount systems, allow single panels to follow the sun’s path through the day.

There are two types of single trackers on the market: single-axis and dual-axis.

Single-axis trackers follow the sun east to west. They rotate on one point and can move in unison, panel row by section, or in unison. Dual-axis trackers rotate both on the X & Y axes so panels can track the sun directly.

Alex Au, chief technical officer of NEXTracker, stated that single trackers are financially sound when the yield increase over fixed-tilt apps outweighs the capital expense of the system. “Single tracker have seen a significant drop in cost over the past decade due to [levelized cost-of-energy] value engineering and increased demand. This is despite the fact that single trackers offer a 15%-30% production increase over fixed tilt systems of the same size.

Trackers with a single axis

Although tracking technology isn’t new to the single-market, single-axis solutions are now a common choice in utility-scale applications. Berkeley Lab discovered that tracking systems were used by 70% of single-use utility-scale installations in 2018.

Jeff Krantz, CCO of Array Technologies, stated that even eight years ago trackers were not available in a utility-scale marketplace or had a tiny share relative to the number of plants being built in the U.S. today.

Single-axis single trackers were originally designed bass flutes to function like Venetian blinds, with panels moving in unison during the day. Tracking software now has the ability to compensate for diffuse light and adverse wind conditions.

On cloudy days, the sunlight is not reflected directly onto the Earth’s surface by direct beams. Instead, it is diffused. This means that panels facing the sun will not have the greatest generation. This could lead to panels stowing horizontally in order to capture the diffuse light.

Single tracker with a linked-row single-axis axis corvallis craigslist have not been as easy to install on steep or undulating terrains. This might mean that grading may be necessary. However, some models are capable of compensating for uneven terrains. Technology that has not been widely used in colder climates is now starting to make a stronger presence.