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  • Looking for a solar tracker controller

    Need a recommendation for a solar tracking controller to run a couple of linear actuators. Need a brand that actually works. Got one from WindyNation and it works but not very well.

  • #2
    Try Lauritzen...

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    • #3
      PQ4 good one

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      • #4
        There are lots of them on eBay. I have no hands on experience with them though.
        2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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        • #5
          That's why many have abandoned trackers and use fixed arrays, sometimes split in 2 directions
          Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
          || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
          || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

          solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
          gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mike90250 View Post
            That's why many have abandoned trackers and use fixed arrays, sometimes split in 2 directions
            For most locations, unless there is a need to spread out the production over a day, or an unusual shading situation, or the power input to a storage device or to the grid must be limited, splitting an array into 2 or more directions will result in less energy production per panel area over time than a single orientation.

            For most applications and orientations without those constraints, a single (optimal) orientation will produce more electricity per (say, a day) time period than will multiple orientations of the same total area.

            Longer generation periods/day do not automatically translate to more energy collected per day. Nor are multiple arrays more cost effective than one single array of the same total area - usually and commonly, often the opposite.

            Multiple axis tracking needs very careful consideration and analysis from all considerations of engineering, cost, PITA factor and other things. As mentioned/usually the case, increasing the size of an (optimally oriented) array is often/usually more cost effective and a more practical option than a tracking array.
            Last edited by J.P.M.; 09-14-2018, 01:35 PM.

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            • #7
              Seems like there is no love for trackers. With the amount of output increase from a tracker, I find that confusing?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by magic8192 View Post
                Seems like there is no love for trackers. With the amount of output increase
                from a tracker, I find that confusing?
                My system under clouds can far out produce a tracker system with the same size inverter. It can also match
                the tracker, when its clear. It works by trading the machinery and maintenance of a tracker, for more cheap
                ​​​​​​​panels. Bruce Roe

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                • #9
                  Must be some expensive trackers you are looking at.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by magic8192 View Post
                    Must be some expensive trackers you are looking at.
                    Unfortunately the price and maintenance of a tracking system is far more costly then just adding 15% more panel wattage.

                    Utilities seem to be able to justify tracking systems but IMO I think they just push out the additional cost to their customers.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                      Unfortunately the price and maintenance of a tracking system is far more costly then just adding 15% more panel wattage.

                      Utilities seem to be able to justify tracking systems but IMO I think they just push out the additional cost to their customers.
                      Looking at some quotes from installers, I can understand why. I guess it only makes sense for DIY people.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by magic8192 View Post
                        Seems like there is no love for trackers. With the amount of output increase from a tracker, I find that confusing?
                        Ever design a tracking array ? Ever try to maintain one ? Well, if you compare the possible 20 - 25 % increase in irradiance for either a one or two axis tracker, and what's probably an 18 - 20 % or so increase in annual production for mid continent U.S. (Springfield Il, for example) vs. a fixed orientation system that will produce about equal annual output for a larger array, and compare that to the extra expense and maint. and maybe things like insurance, not to mention the hassle and expense of design/possible permitting required for a tracking system vs. those same expenses and hassles of the fixed orientation system, you'll probably be a bit less confused.

                        The usual bottom line: The tracking array is smaller, but the cost /delivered kWh is probably equal to or higher than the fixed array as are the likely maint. costs. All that is before the real and likely PITA factor of more maintenance hassles.

                        Pay your money, take your choice, but know that the devil is in the details. Do your homework before you cement an opinion or a decision.

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                        • #13
                          Part of the issue is latitude. On the equator a long shaft parallel to the ground can turn a bunch of panels.
                          If you come here at 42 degrees, it is not practical to tilt a long shaft up that far. So the commercial arrays
                          leave it flat, but add 30% more panels to compensate for the cosine of 42 degrees. Already a lot of the
                          apparent tracking advantage is going away. Build lots of tilted short shafts with drives, cost gets out of
                          control and you need a lot of land to avoid shadowing.

                          My array puts out 20 hp 8 hours a day. Try building something that size on up to industrial, to see just
                          what the challenges are. One thing the tracker CAN do, is throw off the snow. Mine is still small enough
                          to allow doing snow removal by hand, with an arrangement optimized for this. Bruce Roe
                          Last edited by bcroe; 09-15-2018, 01:50 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by magic8192 View Post
                            Seems like there is no love for trackers. With the amount of output increase from a tracker, I find that confusing?
                            That is because you believe in something that is not true or economically feasible.
                            MSEE, PE

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sunking View Post
                              That is because you believe in something that is not true or economically feasible.
                              Ok Thx

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