Understanding Solar Trackers and its Global Market
October 14, 2022 • DE Energy
Despite solar being a net-zero emission source, there are still reservations about its use, owing to its variable nature. This has led to increased usage of solar trackers for improving the efficiency of systems towards accelerating renewable energy adoption.
What is a Solar tracker?
A Solar tracker is any device that enables the positioning of an object to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day. This technology has increased renewable energy adoption significantly. The older solar panel systems have rigid setups. They are positioned at calculated angles based on geography to get maximum exposure to sun rays. The newer systems integrated with solar trackers enable the panels to move with the sun. They always remain perpendicular to the sun, receiving optimal exposure throughout the day.
This significantly increases the efficiency and output of solar power creating a massive impact on the solar energy market. It also explains the shift from the use of polycrystalline modules to movable mono and bifacial solar panels. Despite the increase in capital costs, they pay for themselves within a short span in efficiency and output.
Types of Solar Trackers
There are 3 types of solar trackers, depending on the type of system involved.
Manual Solar Trackers: Manual solar trackers are manually oriented and latched into place by the user, preferably 3 times a day, in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
Passive Solar Trackers: Passive trackers use compressed gases with low boiling points which move from one side to the other. The panel shifts along with this movement.
Active Solar Trackers: Active trackers employ the use of sensors to track the sun’s movement. The tracker focuses on the brightest point in the sky, to capture the maximum light at any point of the day.
There are 2 additional types of Solar Trackers based on the direction of movement.
Single Axis Solar Tracker: This tracker tracks the movement of the sun from East to West. They are best suited for utility-scale projects. The efficiency of the system is increased by 25-35%.
Dual-Axis Solar Tracker: Dual-axis trackers is capable of tracking the sun’s movement from North to South as well as East to West. They are well suited for commercial and residential projects with space constraints. The energy production is increased by 40% when dual-axis trackers are integrated with the systems.
A 30% Increase in Power Efficiency
Although the solar trackers boost the efficiency of the systems, the initial cost goes up. The cost of solar panels has come down. The debate here is whether to install more panels to increase power production or to install a solar tracker.
Polycrystalline panels of standard 60 cell size have a power rating of 300-330 watts and 18-20% efficiency. Monocrystalline panels of the same size can produce 370 – 440 watts. The cost of installing a tracker in either system remains the same. However, power production can increase by as much as 30% in high-efficiency systems. Integrating solar trackers in both ground-mounted and rooftop solar installations is advisable.
Short-term Capital Returns
Earlier, solar panel efficiency was at 15%. It has now become more than 20%. This increase in efficiency results in the embodied energy being paid for in less than 2 years. This applies to locations with sun exposure for the majority of the year.
The efficiency of solar panels is a direct indicator of their performance. High-efficiency panels employ higher-grade N-type Silicon cells. These cells come with improved temperature coefficients and lower power degradation. Some of the manufacturers offer warranties with 90% or higher retained power output, even with 25 years of use.
Bifacial panels are a perfect example of such high-energy solar panels. They have power output ratings of over 500 watts. Combined with solar trackers they pose the most viable solution to recover the capital costs quickly.
Bifacial panels have been around since the 1960s but the tech didn’t take off as it was too expensive. With reduced raw material costs and improved energy outputs, it is once again gaining traction.
Solar Tracker Market
Bifacial Solar Panels comprised 50% of the Solar energy market in 2021. It is expected to reach 85% by end of 2023. Bifacial panels, combined with solar trackers can enhance energy production by 35%. This combination also brings down projected energy costs by 16%. This is vital to powering remote regions and making it affordable to people in unstable economies.
The global Solar Tracker market alone will be worth around 64.6 Billion USD by 2030. The growth will average a CAGR of 15.6% between 2022 and 2030. From Nil, a few years ago, solar trackers have captured 30% of the utility market in a short period.
With the technology beginning to take off, now is the right time for businesses to go solar and start their net-zero journey. Distributed Energy is an experienced platform aggregator for enabling renewable energy projects. We leverage our technical expertise in optimizing clean energy production. As energy customers, you have a unique opportunity to jump on board and be part of our journey as we embark on addressing issues surrounding energy poverty in the developing world. Talk to us today to know more about clean energy and solar savings.