by Jessie Capper
Solar tracking technology has proven to improve the performance of photovoltaic panels by 20 percent or more over fixed systems. Dual-axis tracking systems—moving along both a x and y axes—typically provide 8 to 10 percent more energy than single-axis systems. Although solar tracking technology improves performance of photovoltaic panels, there are concerns regarding the land requirements and high costs associated with this innovative technology (Renewable Energy World June 13, 2013). Trackers tend to be more expensive due to their moving parts; therefore, the motor needs to be professionally installed and properly maintained. Furthermore, tracking systems’ movement can cast shadows on neighboring panels; as a result, these systems require more land than fixed solar systems. Due to their advanced technology and demand for land space, solar tracking technology can be a costly investment.
Fortunately, SunPower Corp, AllEarth Renewables, and SolarSense have collaborated to maximize energy production for large-scale solar projects with solar tracking technology for photovoltaic panels (Renewable Energy World Jan 19, 2015). These companies have focused on advancing the dual-axis tracking technology at a low cost while maintaining reliability and efficiency. AllSun Solar Trackers, manufactured by AllEarth Renewables in Williston Vermont, use a motor and GPS to rotate the solar PV panels all directions—from east to west, to up and down—to provide the maximum energy production possible; these trackers result in 45 percent more energy than rooftop solar (AllEarth Renewables). SunPower Corp. has equipped these trackers with SunPower solar panels; SunPower’s panels have been demonstrated to be the most efficient solar photovoltaic panels commercially available in the industry (SunPower). The success in the combination of these two technologies, and the collaboration among these three businesses has built a promising platform for the future of solar tracking technology for renewable energy.
“SolarSense Completes Development and Financing of 2.15 MW of AllEarth Solar Tracker Projects.” Renewable Energy World. January 19, 2015. Accessed February 11, 2015. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/companies/allearth-renewables/news/article/2015/01/solarsense-completes-development-and-financing-of-2-15-mw-of-allearth-solar-tracker-projects
“Solar Tracking Systems Gain Ground.” Renewable Energy World. June 13, 2013. Accessed February 15, 2015. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/06/on-track-to-succeed-with-solar-tracking-systems
AllEarth Renewables (http://www.allearthrenewables.com/our-product/).