FAQ: How does the Tracker produce more energy? Part 1, longer days.
During the summer half of the year—from the day after the spring equinox to the day before the autumn equinox—the sun is rising out of the northeast and setting in the northwest (in the northern hemisphere). The “ideal” fixed-mount solar array is oriented due south, since that is the way that it will produce as much energy as it can. However, any time the sun is in the northern half of the sky, which occurs in the morning and afternoon for half of the year, the sun will then be behind the fixed array.
The Solaflect PV Tracker, on the other hand, turns to face the sun each dawn and follows it all the way through sunset. In essence, the Tracker experiences a longer day throughout the summer half of the year. The graph below shows how extreme the advantage can be. On the summer solstice here in Vermont, there are more than 3 hours that the Tracker can see the sun and produce power that is lost time to an ideally oriented fixed array. The other days of the summer half of the year are not quite as extreme, but all of them offer some amount of this advantage for tracking.
This is one of the three factors that add up to the Tracker’s overall advantage over fixed-mount arrays, typically around 40%. (Also see FAQs “Part 2: Face Directly at the Sun” and “Part 3: Shed Snow Automatically.”)
It’s true that this advantage is only available in full to those locations with an open view of the sky from sunrise to sunset. Trees, buildings, or hills to the east and west will reduce the tracking advantage to some extent. We offer free site assessments so that we can analyze your specific site conditions and let you know just how well the Solaflect PV Tracker will perform for you. Contact us to schedule your free site visit.
See more FAQs here.