In flat-panel photovoltaic (PV) applications, trackers are used to minimize the angle of incidence between the incoming sunlight and a photovoltaic panel. This increases the amount of energy produced from a fixed amount of installed power generating capacity.
In standard photovoltaic applications, it is estimated that trackers are used in at least 85% of commercial installations greater than 1MW from 2009 to 2012.
The advantages of solar tracker are listed below:
- Solar tracking systems are used to continually orient photovoltaic panels towards the sun and can help maximize the investment in PV system.
- They are beneficial as the sun's position in the sky will change gradually over the course of a day and over the seasons throughout the year.
- Advantages to using a tracker system like this will depend mainly on it's placement in determining how well it will increase the effectiveness of the panels.
- energy production is at an optimum and energy output is increased year round. This is especially significant through out the summer months with its long days of sunlight available to capture and no energy will be lost.
- For those with limited space this means that a smaller array only needs to be installed, a huge advantage for those smaller sites with only a small area to place solar tracker.
Now let's discuss about the disadvantages of solar tracking system. Today, with boom in solar technology, the use of solar tracker is not necessary as it increases the total set-up cost of the system. The main disadvantages of using solar tracking system are listed below:
- The stand alone PV home kit system is a very reliable and uncomplicated source of energy production; the panels don't move and require little maintenance. By adding a solar tracking system to your solar panels, you are adding moving parts and gears which will require regular maintenance of your solar system and repair or replacement of broken parts.
- The main disadvantage is the investment problem. It has seen that in comparison to the cost and increment in the efficiency, setup and maintenance cost of the tracking system leads. By using the solar tracker the overall efficiency of the system increased by 23-30% whereas the system cost increases by 31-35% (in most of the cases).
- Also the maintenance and repairing of mechanical and electronic parts of the tracking system requires extra man-power and of course extra investment.
Last of all i'd like to conclude that the use of solar tracker in the solar PV installtation is not that much important. We can save this money and put it on utilising the Maximum Power Point Tracking which yields more output from the solar array than the tracker system.
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