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Solar Tracking Arrays - Single vs Dual Axis Tracking

:: Dual Axis Tracking ::

Dual-axis (two-axis image) solar trackers capture the full extent of the sun of up to 14 hours per day by follow the sun completely, relevant to your global location.  The increase in energy captured by duel-axis tracking is increased by up to 100% more than fixed flat panel system, as two-axes of rotation allow the tracker to position the solar cells directly perpendicular (facing directly at the sun) to the sun’s ray from dawn to dusk.

--- // ---

:: Single Axis Tracking ::

Single-axis (one-axis image) solar trackers follow the sun from sunrise to sunset as it moves in the sky through the day from east to west only, increasing the energy captured by over 25% more than fixed flat panels.

Using a Single-axis Tracker with Tilted Azimuth rotation is a little better, depending on the design, you could change the Latitude tilt several times a years to suit your latitude location.

--- // ---

The study below shows a 1~10 kWh Duel-axis Tracker can re-pay the initial investment cost in under 6 years, this is accomplished by replacing the power bill costs by harvesting & storing the power produced, then the system owner will no longer have an ongoing power bill for the next 10+ years, Batteries are the turn-key path to true power independence!

What's great about a system with battery ? Batteries allows you to first & foremost send any excess energy you produce straight into the batteries for storage - then as the sun-sets you automatically harvest the stored energy to operate your premises until the next sun-rise, if your batteries are charged to full capacity before sun-set, you then have the choice to export/sell this unused power.   This simple means that from sun-set you will only be using your own stored power, possibly up to the next sun-rise, thus avoiding paying the peak retail price for power during the day and well after sun set - That is how you become power independent!

--- // ---

Performance of Fixed Flat Panels v Solar Trackers in Australia

A solar tracker increases the performance of solar PV panels in the shoulder periods of the day, where a static fixed mount panel would only receive obscured sun exposure. This can be seen in the graphs below of side by side solar tracking panels & static fixed panel, the "Ele 30" relates to the latitude location, in Australia between 11~44°, depending on where you live.

--- // ---

Advantages of solar trackers

  • Single-Axis Tracking can increase solar production by up to 25% more than Fixed panels.
  • Dual-Axis Tracking can increase solar production by up to 50% more than Fixed panels.
  • 24v Linear Actuators & Slew Bearing combination are more reliable, and less vulnerable to storm damage.
  • 24v Double-Axis Slew Bearing Trackers are Heavy Duty, with less risk of mechanical breakdowns.

Disadvantages of solar trackers

  • An added up-front cost to your solar installation, but is recovered by increased Harvesting.
  • Commercial Motorised Slew bearing are more expensive than cheap lightweight shaft motorised versions.
  • Moving parts and added complexity come with the usual pitfalls of risk of breakdown with lightweight residential components.
  • Residential lightweight tracker are Structurally less rigid, so are more vulnerable to storm damage.

Solar tracker performance for various locations around Australia is shown using the links below. The modeling has been undertaken using the Photo Voltaic Watts Performance Calculator for Grid-Connected Systems designed by the Renewable Resource Data Centre, part of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The figures below take all of the necessary factors into account, including meteorological factors such as average cloud cover and temperature loss factors etc.

The latitude tables below shows, installing a single-axis solar tracker will boost your energy output in Sydney over the year by 20%, 25% for a dual-axis tracker. Yearly average increase in energy output (kWh) due to being either Tilted to single-axis and double-axis solar PV tracking unit.

Latertude Location Map

The above chart shows the Latitude locations.

Solar Harvesting Potential

City

 Latitude 

 Flat Panel 

 Harvesting 

Increase

 Latitude Tilted  

Harvesting

Increase

 Single-axis Tracker 

Harvesting

Increase

 Dual-axis Tracker 

Harvesting

Increase

Cape York (QLD)

11°

0%

7%

14%

20%

Darwin (NT)

12°

0%

7%

14%

20%

Cairns (QLD)

17°

0%

8%

16%

22%

Broome (WA) 

18°

0%

8%

16%

22%

Townsville (QLD)

20°

0%

9%

17%

23%

Port Hedland (WA)

20°

0%

9%

17%

23%

Rockhampton (QLD) 

23°

0%

9%

17%

23%

Alice Springs (NT)

24°

0%

9%

17%

23%

Brisbane (QLD)

27°

0%

10%

18%

25%

Tamworth (NSW)

31°

0%

11%

20%

27%

Perth (WA)

31°

0%

11%

20%

27%

Newcastle (NSW)

33°

0%

11%

21%

28%

Sydney (NSW)

34°

0%

12%

21%

28%

Canberra (NSW)

35°

0%

13%

22%

29%

Adelaide (SA)

35°

0%

13%

22%

29%

Melbourne (VIC)

37°

0%

16%

27%

34%

Hobart (TAS)

42°

0%

21%

30%

37%

Yes, Perth Latitude is actually at a higher latitude than Sydney!

The above figures shows the average increase in energy harvesting for a Fixed, Tilted, Single-axis and Double-axis PV solar arrays.

A guideline to what kWh harvesting to expect from each solar mounting system.

City

Fixed Flat mount*

 (kWh/year 1kW system) 

Tilted Fixed Panel +8%

 (kWh/year 1kW system) 

 Single-axis Tracker +20~25% 

(kWh/year 1kW system)

 Dual-axis Tracker +25~45% 

 (kWh/year 1kW system) 

Darwin

1570

1695

1888

1959

Brisbane

1405

1517

1695

1761

Perth

1354

1462

1704

1785

Sydney

1460

1576

1756

1826

Canberra

1449

1564

1816

1906

Adelaide

1471

1588

1849

1886

Melbourne 

1234

1220

1840

1920

Hobart 

1180

1270

1868

1980

*Fixed mount baseline figures provided by Australian owners/installers, to the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

We don't think much of the CEC, they appear to be another department set up to charge Electricians over $1'000 per year to simply get on there website list of installers, working electrician should already be certified!   Besides that most Solar panels operate on 12V~38V DC current (Non lethal voltage vehicles operate on), and not at all dangerous until the DC voltage is wired to an inverter, that in turn converted DC power to 240 Volt AC or higher for commercial applications.

Any decent Electrician would not need to advertise if they are reputable installers, and would be better off spending the money on there own web-site, as word of mouth is a good indication of the service they offer!

Click images to get e better look at that different power harvested between Flat panel, Single-Axis Tracking and what Duel-Axis Tracking can harvest/produce in up 14+hrs of Peak power per day, depending on your latitude location.

The power you can harvest from each installation, largely relates to your Latitude and mounting system.

This graph clearly shows what happens when a customer initially installed a 10kWh fixed Solar array to reduce there power bills, prior to the rebate becoming 6c/kWh in 2017.   Whilst the 10kWh fixed panel array was exporting half the power into the state grid for little return, and after 4pm the customer has to pay 400% more for there power!   Where as shown in Red, 5kWh Duel-Axis Tracking produces and spreads all the factory daytime power.

With the state grid feed-in rebate so low, we consider customers with existing solar array larger than the daily consumption, foolish not to invest in Battery storage and self consume all there own power!  Instead what happens, the customers excess power is sold to there neighbours by the electricity retailers at over 400% profit, and after sunset the solar array owner is also forced to pay 400% more than there rebate!

In the graph you can see how a 5kWh Duel-Axis Tracking produces almost double fixed panel power per day, and all the daytime factory power, from this point onwards the customer just needs to add one or two additional solar panels and a small battery bank, to instantly cover the factory's overnight requirements, and become independent of the state grid.

--- // ---

How much does Duel-Axis Solar Tracking System cost in 2018.

  1. 1.05kWh Duel-Axis Solar Array, consuming 11kWh Day;
    • 1x 3kW YIY Hybrid Inverter =$900.00
    • 3x 350W Monocrystalline panels @$300 =$900.00 (1.05 kWh Solar Array)
    • 1x DAT-4 Dual-Axis Slew bearing Tracking Racking & Pole KIT =$3'200.00
    • 1x 5kWh YIY LiFePo4 Battery, costing $2'650.00
    • TOTAL Array: *$7'650, suitable to replace a $120 month ($1'450 year) power bill.
    • Break-even 5.2 years with 5.2kWh LiFe Battery 

  2. 2.10kWh Dual-Axis Solar Array, consuming 23kWh Day;
    • 1x 5kW YIY Hybrid Inverter =$1'180.00
    • 6x 350W Monocrystalline panels @$300 =$1'800.00 (2.10kWh Solar Array)
    • 1x DAT-8 Dual-Axis Slew bearings Tracking Racking & Poles KIT =$3'700.00
    • 3x 5.20kWh =15.6kWh YIY LiFePo4 Batteries, costing $7'950.00
    • TOTAL Array: *$14'630, suitable to replace a $225 month ($2'675 year) power bill.
    • Break-even 5.5 years with 15.60kWh LiFe Batteries 

  3. 4.20kWh Duel-Axis Solar Array, consuming 45kWh Day;
    • 1x 12kW YIY Hybrid Inverter =$2'500.00
    • 12x 350W Monocrystalline panels @$280 =$3'360.00 (4.20kWh Solar Array)
    • 1x DAT-12 Dual-Axis Slew bearing Tracking Racking & Pole KIT =$3'900.00
    • 1x 52kWh YIY LiFePo4 Battery Tower & Racking, costing $13'100.00
    • TOTAL System: *$22'860, suitable to replace a $410 month ($4'925 yearly) power bill.
    • Break-even 4.7 years with 52.00kWh LiFe Batteries 

--- // ---

So, if your intention is to simply get your system paid off by replacing your electricity costs, then there are two main ways to accomplish this;

  1. Purchase a Solar Array larger than your daily usage, where it only supplies power to operate your premises during daylight, whilst the lion share of power is exported to the State Grid for a feed-in tariff of 8~11 c/kWh.
    But Remember, without battery storage you will be paying the Full retail rate of approx. 27 c/kWh after sunset !
  2. Purchase a battery bank - then import all your solar power (and any other) into the battery bank via a Hybrid Inverter, once the batteries are full, you then have the choice to do what you want with your power!

The smartest method is the latter, by automatically sending excess power straight to your batteries - This simple means that after sun-set you will only be harvesting power from your batteries until the next sun-rise, thus avoiding paying peak retail price for power during the day and after sun set. That is how you become Power independent quicker!

--- // ---

Your own cases studies can be simulated using our Micro Grid re-payment Calculators.

--- // ---

Up front cost for 1.05kW solar array, dual-axis Kit, and 5.20kWh batteries as above is *$7'650.00;

  1. After *5.2 years this system breaks-even, after replacing a $1'450 per year power bill.
  2. At 10 years, this system provided 4.8 years @$2'675 =$6'960 Profit/Saving.
  3. At 15 years, this system provide 9.8 years @$2'675 year =$14'210 Profit/Saving.
  4. At 20 years, this system provide 14.8 years @$2'675 year =$21'460 Profit/Saving etc...

Up front cost for 2.10kW solar array, dual-axis Kit, and 24kWh batteries as above is *$14'630.00;

  1. After *4.5 years this system breaks-even, after replacing a $2'675 per year power bill.
  2. At 10 years, this system provides 5.5 years @$2'675 =$14'710 Profit/Saving.
  3. At 15 years, this system provide 10.5 years @$2'675 year =$28'090 Profit/Saving.
  4. At 20 years, this system provide 15.5 years @$2'675 year =$41'460 Profit/Saving etc...

Case study 3: 4.20kW Dual axis solar tracker installed in Sydney

Up front cost for 4.20kW solar array, dual-axis Kit, and 52kWh batteries as above is *$22'860.00;

  1. After *4.7 years this system breaks-even, after replacing a $4'925 per year power bill.
  2. At 10 years, this system provides 5.30 years @$4'925 =$26'100 Profit/Saving.
  3. At 15 years, this system provide 10.30 years @$4'925 year =$50'725 Profit/Saving.
  4. At 20 years, this system provide 15.30 years @$4'925 year =$75'350 Profit/Saving etc...

(*) Estimations based on Max kWh harvested using Duel-Axis Tracking, including grid service charges & equipment costs, excludes installation costs!

The above study's show the economics of solar trackers, the return on investment is substantial after the break-even period, as the return would be even greater, if you sell what would normally be stored & unused energy in your batteries via a bespoke electricity retailer, that fit a Reposit box, that in turn increased the feed-in Credit to $1.00kWh per kWh of power you export to the state grid, whereby you simply replacing the need to use the common electricity Retailers that pay @$0.06kWh.   You should note the "break even cost" is not really an income until after you pass the break-even time period, but simply a saving on having to outlay your funds to pay for electricity, thus you can use the funds to pay your mortgage or other investments like Superannuation or lifestyle choices etc.

The barrier to grid solutions is the double dip by transmission providers charging for input and output, so regulation needs to change, this will not happen until our incompetent politicians on both sides, stop lining there own pockets, with there deceptive insider perks, and start acting on behalf of the people!

NB: Solar Arrays without Battery storage, will provide little return on investment using the 6~8 cents/kWh Retailer feed-in tariff, thus you have simply remained enslaved to the State Grid & electrical Retailers, by choosing to continue paying the retail price for power after sunset!

The purpose of Duel-Axis Tracking is to generate substantially more power than a standard fixed flat panel Solar array, improving generation increases independence, when solar is used with batteries and you install a Reposit Box, it can earn you GridCredits, of $1.00kWh feed-in Credit/revenue is offered when used in conjunction with a Reposit Retailer, only when using approved Battery storage, Batteries will eventually get fully charged from time to time, especially if your power usage reduces or you choose to generator more power via other methods like Aqua or Wind, again Solar trackers are the best option to increase your Solar Harvesting!

We only recommend purchasing a multi voltage Hybrid inverter, and 72~96 call 300~350W solar panels, don't be fooled into purchasing 60 cell 200~250W solar panels, as they harvest 30% less power & more panels are required, creating a larger footprint to produce the same power.

An over size inverter will let you control every aspect of your future power production and distribution, the smart hybrid-inverters are designed to handle multiple input voltage from several power sources, such as Solar, Wind, Aqua, Battery and even Generator input, ours generators all come with built in Battery charge management, that once programmed, can automatically start or shutdown as programmed.

See also SUN Tracking Equipment

 
 
 
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