Do Solar Trackers Boost Energy Output?


There are a bunch of things to consider when it comes to solar trackers rather than just boosting output. So, the short answer to this question is yes… but let’s start at the beginning!

What are solar trackers?

Solar trackers are devices that let your solar panels follow the sun as it moves across the sky. It’s a pretty cool concept, right? They simply connect to the racking of solar panels, meaning they can be ground or roof-mounted along with your panels. Trackers will allow your solar power system to produce more renewable energy, which is brilliant.

What types of solar trackers are there?

Firstly, there are single-axis solar trackers. It’s all in the name with these ones; they rotate on one axis (being east-to-west). This means single-axis solar trackers follow the sun from sunrise to sunset as it makes its way across the sky. Single-axis trackers can be stood up (which is called a polar axis) or laid flat (which is called a horizontal axis). It’s better to stand single-axis trackers up if you live far from the equator… being the southern parts of Australia. Single-axis trackers with a horizontal orientation are better suited to the tropics and places closer to the equator… being the northern parts of Australia.

Then, there’s dual-axis trackers. These ones are more complex than their single-axis counterparts; with more moving parts and more technology involved. These trackers will follow the sun’s rays at all times and are able to adjust to the sun’s height and rotation throughout the day. These can make a large difference in places where the sun’s height and arc changes throughout the day, like the southern parts of Australia.

Are solar trackers right for me?

The first thing you probably want to know about installing solar trackers is how expensive it can be. If you choose to install solar trackers, there will be an added upfront cost to your solar installation. Depending on your city and whether you’d like single or dual-axis trackers, prices will vary. This is because it depends how many panels you have and whether they’re ground or roof-mounted. Unfortunately, we can’t give you a price because of this, but it will be quite expensive. To give you some sort of idea, you could be looking at a minimum of about $600 per panel. Trackers generally require routine inspections and maintenance, so there will be future costs down the track too. If you live in areas prone to stormy weather, it’s important to note that solar trackers are vulnerable to damage as they are not as sturdy as permanent, fixed mounts are.

This might seem like a lot, though solar trackers will improve panel output and the overall efficiency of your solar power system. They can also allow you to get more out of a smaller-sized solar power system because your panels would be exposed to more sunlight than they would with fixed mounts.

Let’s summarise…

Now that you’ve got the basics of solar trackers down pat, it’s time to decide if it’s something you’d like to invest in. This part is obviously up to you, but there is an alternative option to trackers. If you like the idea of how efficient your system could be, but can’t justify the upfront costs… this one’s for you. There is the option of installing more panels than you had initially planned. This can be a cheaper and more practical way for your panels to absorb more sunlight without trackers.

Solar trackers definitely boost the output of the solar power systems they are linked to. However, they are not frequently seen on residential rooftops in Australia. This could be because they are expensive and don’t hold up as well as fixed mounts in bad weather. Additionally, while it is possible to have trackers installed on rooftop projects, they can be too heavy for residential roofs. So, if you’ve got land to spare on your property and are interested in solar trackers; it might be best to ground-mount your panels and get trackers installed that way.

We’ve taken you through the basics, so find us on social media and let us know your thoughts on solar trackers!


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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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