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One- and two-axis solar trackers

zimny8 6912 29
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  • Let me present my own constructions of my own performance.
    I have presented them very briefly / roughly in another topic, not in this section, here they will probably be subject to professional evaluation / criticism.
    Maybe they will inspire someone, help someone, building prototypes is really difficult, but users of the DIY Constructions section probably know that.

    Two single axis trackers:
    One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers

    Two-axis tracker, trusses based on uniaxial:



    One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers One- and two-axis solar trackers

    The structures use actuators as a drive.
    The uniaxials have a tracking range of about 150 degrees, a constant angle of inclination of about 40 degrees and a total power of 2.4kW, at the beginning the 9-channel second controller gives 8 seconds after time intervals. impulses. In addition to the limit switches in the actuators, the system with two reed switches on the first tracker, the second one works synchronously.

    The two-axis can track up to 200 degrees, the limit switches are set at about 170 degrees due to the terrain conditions, its power is 3.0 kW. The second 16-channel driver (for now), gives 6 sec. impulses. A unique system of two actuators rotates the load-bearing structure sequentially: first one works, after the work is finished the other. When polarity is reversed, reverse.
    The second axis is moved by the third actuator via the sun tracking controller. At the top, the wind force sensor, which activates the third actuator, works until the pulses are flattened and the pulses are disconnected, to restore the functions, it must be done manually with the "work" button.

    There is a box on the main pole, it has switches, but they are only for service.

    Costs:
    2020 - around 7,000 zloty.
    2021 - considerable, around 9,000 + 5,000 inverter zloty
    Does it all make sense? only thanks to the contribution of my own work.
    I have orders locally, but there are other ideas in my head.

    Cool? Ranking DIY
    Can you write similar article? Send message to me and you will get SD card 64GB.
    About Author
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    Offline 
    zimny8 wrote 3607 posts with rating 407, helped 26 times. Live in city żywiec. Been with us since 2011 year.
  • #2
    CosteC
    Level 34  
    Impressive structure, or rather structures. What is "second driver" - is this some kind of photovoltaic slang?
    I am worried about cables - they look ordinary, indoor installation, and hang freely, susceptible to wind damage.
    I am interested in the topic of protection against strong winds - did you count it or did you assume that the whole thing will have time to assemble?
  • #3
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    CosteC wrote:
    I am worried about cables - they look ordinary, indoor installation, and hang freely, susceptible to wind damage.

    Yes, it's the jumper cables, they'll be different, connected.
    The complete flattening in the case of wind takes as much, depending on the initial position, as max. actuator operation time 24 ", i.e. about 40 sec.
    Second controller, type in google, mainly in aquarium, terrarium, generally timer with programs.
    Ultimately, 30 programs are to be ordered, already ordered.
  • #4
    ADI-mistrzu
    Level 30  
    PLN 21k (i.e. PLN 7k + PLN 9k + PLN 5k) is the cost of both structures + an inverter that supports both masts?
  • #5
    krzbor
    Level 23  
    I wonder if it pays off. I mean, isn't it cheaper to install more panels on the roof?
  • #6
    KamiJas
    Level 13  
    Aren't you afraid of higher winds that it might act like a sail and fly?
  • #7
    marik_te
    Level 22  
    Allow me to insert a photo of the construction that I had the pleasure to create some time ago.
    Two tables on separate trackers, 15 340W panels each.

    One- and two-axis solar trackers
  • #8
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    ADI-mistrzu wrote:
    PLN 21k (i.e. PLN 7k + PLN 9k + PLN 5k) is the cost of both structures + an inverter that supports both masts?

    To this "power plant" you have to add two previously placed, such as those from 2020, with a total capacity of 2KW for 5k PLN.

    The roofs are different, I have a gable but unfavorably oriented, the neighbor I helped has panels near the house of 20m? in 4 rows. After adding the services, he did not get much cheaper, and they are standing still. You do not need to explain what it means? I will just say that the manufacturers of panels provide the power of their products with lighting perpendicular to the surface.

    Buddy, after flattening, they put up almost no resistance to the wind, it was already windy and nothing.
    Do you think idiots build this way blindly?

    marik_te - cool, but I prefer smaller ones, because I can do everything myself. A friend had a windmill, but it was not windy, he turned it into a photo. There was an excavator at the construction site, 12 cubic meters of concrete went into the hole, a larger excavator, actually a crane, was to be assembled. He strengthens this structure from time to time, it weighs tons.
  • #9
    bambus94
    Level 28  
    And I am curious what this wind strength sensor looks like. Because it would be useful for my project.
  • #10
    cefaloid
    Level 33  
    Trackers made any sense from 20 years ago, when the panels were terribly expensive.
    Today for the 21 thousand. PLN, you can order a team that will install a 5kW installation without moving your butt. Or you can buy so many panels yourself that the power obtained will spread the one you get using the tracker.

    It will never pay back. As a hobby for a DIY enthusiast - okay. As an investment? Will not pay back.
  • #11
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    This sensor is not extremely precise, but it works fine. Tiltable, i.e. a plate with a selected surface with an integrated magnet, a reed switch on the side boom.

    cefaloid wrote:
    Today, for these 21,000 PLN, you can order a team that will install the 5kW installation without moving your butt. Or you can buy so many panels yourself that the power obtained will spread the one you get using the tracker.

    I see these teams of pullers, in my area not a single roof has been prepared for screwing, they even lay it on a rusty metal sheet. Everything on a hooray, one house with several roofs, the so-called Roof panels, two panels on each roof, even on the northern one.

    Moderated By tmf:

    I removed some off-topic content.

  • #12
    Slawek K.
    Level 35  
    It is not always possible to add an infinite number of panels, because there is no space on the roof, no space on the plot, etc. etc. - then the tracker makes sense, because it is basically the only solution that allows you to increase the efficiency of the installation - not always only the economy decides.
  • #13
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    As for the economy, let's take a two-axis tracker made with our own work - PLN 9k. - 4k PLN for the inverter panels also, because it is always needed, so we are talking about 5k PLN. For 8 hours work on a sunny day is able to generate max. about 20 kWh, monthly in summer 300 to 350 kWh. 2000 kWh all summer, in winter 1000 kWh annually about 3000 kWh. How much money is it? How many years will it take to depreciate?
    Someone writes that it will not return, its strange mathematics, and the roof also needs a not cheap construction alu. Well, I saw it tied with wire to the chimney, the proud owner even posted a video on yt.

    Certainly, it will not pay off to outsource the construction of the tracker to someone, although I have 2 people for + PLN 10k for me, I do not undertake it, I have other goals.
  • #14
    cefaloid
    Level 33  
    zimny8 wrote:
    I see these teams of pullers, in my area not a single roof has been prepared for screwing, they even lay it on a rusty metal sheet. It's all hooray, one house with several roofs, the so-called roof gables, with two panels on each roof, even on the north side.

    Oh, and you assume that every installer is a liar, bastard and thief? Because I don't understand - could you specify what exactly you wanted to say?
    Why the belief that everyone else is definitely spartolone and you are not the only one? And why do you call this man (instead of feeling sorry for him because he was deceived) an envious man?

    Slawek K. wrote:
    It is not always possible to add an infinite number of panels, because there is no space on the roof, no space on the plot, etc. etc. - then the tracker makes sense, because it is basically the only solution that allows you to increase the efficiency of the installation - not always only the economy decides.

    OK, but the two-axis tracker in Poland allows you to improve the efficiency of panels from about 1000 kWh / kWp to 1350 kWh / kWp, i.e. about + 35%.
    Looking at these structures that remind me a bit of a military radar, I dare to say that if you put these + 35% more panels there as fixed structures, the space would not be larger at all.

    zimny8 wrote:
    As for the economy, let's take a two-axis tracker made with our own work - PLN 9k. - 4k PLN for the inverter panels also, because it is always needed, so we are talking about 5k PLN. For 8 hours work on a sunny day is able to generate max. about 20 kWh, monthly in summer 300 to 350 kWh. 2000 kWh all summer, in winter 1000 kWh annually about 3000 kWh. How much money is it? How many years will it take to depreciate?
    Someone writes that it will not return, its strange mathematics, and the roof also needs a not cheap construction alu. Well, I saw it tied with wire to the chimney, the proud owner even posted a video on yt.

    Certainly, it will not pay off to outsource the construction of the tracker to someone, although I have 2 people for + PLN 10k for me, I do not undertake it, I have other goals.

    After all, all this can be counted. In Poland, a two-axis tracker, as I wrote, improves the yield by about 35%.
    So from a 3 kWp installation you will get about:
    - 4000 kWh with a two-axis tracker
    - 3000 kWh from a fixed installation

    Assuming the price of 1 kWh = 0.65 groszy and the fact that 80% of it will be transferred to the network for later use (and the operator will deduct 20% from it), we will obtain a difference of 840 kWh. That is PLN 546 per year.
    So assuming that you spent an extra PLN 5,000 on it (compared to what would cost a classic installation), then 10 years it will pay off. And if you add working time (you could earn money somewhere at that time, after all) or you spent not 5 thousand but 10 thousand ... it will never pay back. In my private opinion.

    You wanted to, so I give my arguments and disappear. Keep discussing each other, I do not bother you anymore. I wrote that not everything has to pay off and if you do it as a hobby - I sincerely congratulate you on successful constructions.
  • #15
    Slawek K.
    Level 35  
    Nobody attacks, I just referred to the fact that the hobby is not always about money and economic sense. If you do everything just to make it profitable and beneficial, then I feel a little sorry ;) I did a lot of things there that did not necessarily pay off, but the fun and satisfaction of building them was / is priceless :)
  • #16
    cefaloid
    Level 33  
    Well, but I agree with this from the very beginning - if it is a form of hobby that someone wants to do it themselves - then only congratulations.
    Because every hobby costs money - and it's not about money :)
  • #17
    trojan 12
    Level 35  
    Colleagues, you are a bit detached from reality.
    The power industry will force the storage of electricity and with the tracker, the production will be spread more evenly, you need a smaller warehouse.
    You can be sure of this, because the modernization of the network costs money, they want to transfer the costs to the producer instead of modernizing the network.
    Recognition for the constructor for his ability to predict, because he was building the installation at the time the previous Prosumer Act was in force.
  • #18
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    cefaloid wrote:
    Oh, and you assume that every installer is a liar, bastard and thief? Because I don't understand - could you specify what exactly you wanted to say?
    Why the belief that everyone else is definitely spartolone and you are not the only one? And why do you call this man (instead of feeling sorry for him because he was deceived) an envious man?

    I will only refer to this, on other points I fully or partially agree (not the 35% difference).
    I did not write that they are all bunglers and liars, but there are probably a lot of them, because in a small radius I can see their botched works.
    The aforementioned envy is my matchmaker, and I will add that I am a disbeliever, I will not feel sorry for him, because if I advised him something, he would not listen. He came as it was, for help, he cannot be helped now. And he has a piece of a garden, and he could give it there, instead of a roof that was not suitable for it. A good installer would tell him the same.
  • #19
    cefaloid
    Level 33  
    zimny8 wrote:
    not a difference of 35%.

    So what's the difference in your opinion?
  • #20
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    From my observations and comparisons to my neighbors, I have over 40% of them, but this difference will not be everywhere. The photos show the topography and vegetation. Those who have panels low to the ground (1 neighbor behind the fence), some to noon and others in the afternoon, have almost no yield. At this time of the year, the first rays of the sun fall on my trackers, e.g. today 0 8:30 (at my neighbor's house at noon, because it's almost near the forest and on a slope), and in winter (December), only around 10:00.
    Therefore, the roof would be the best, unfortunately not mine.
  • #21
    kotbury
    Gantry automation specialist
    Quote:
    For 8 hours work on a sunny day is able to generate max. about 20 kWh, monthly in summer 300 to 350 kWh. 2000 kWh all summer, in winter 1000 kWh annually about 3000 kWh. How much money is it? How many years will it take to depreciate?

    My answer is: 10 to 12 panels 375 W or 400 W. I have 10 panels on the roof (375 W PERC Longi), an angle of approx. 26 degrees (classic Gierek post with an envelope roof). The paneled slope faces almost exactly south (with a slight deviation to the east). On a good day (May to end of July) an average of 20 kWh per day. But the yield measured with the inverter right after the panels. After the inverter and balancing, of course, less.
    In winter there will be a misery, but I plan to add another 8 on the western slope, but the CIGS (apparently they better collect non-perpendicular and diffused light - it will turn out) on pseudo trackers, i.e. whole frames (panels in 3 separate groups due to obstacles on the roof) lifted by gate actuators.

    I do not sit deeply in the subject of trackers, but would it not look neater if instead of a gigantic sail mounted on a turntable of several hundred kilograms and a ton of foundation, panels should be made (even in several sets) on the raised frames, and the east-west positioning should be done by "spinning" individual panels (or " risers ") if more of them - about the vertical axis?
    If I already have the abovementioned CIGS, I will just try to come up with something like that and maybe I will also add a vertical axis. It's just that I have a special situation, additional panels will work only in the afternoon, so the ranges of movement will be smaller (and the design is simpler) than in the case of an all-day tracker.
  • #22
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    Quote :
    "How many years will it take to depreciate? How many roof panels do you need to have this result?"

    kotbury wrote:
    My answer: 10 to 12 panels of 375W or 400W


    And that is the true answer to someone who has.
    As you can see, almost twice as many.
    As for my 2-axle axle, it is not that gigantic or heavy, the profiles in Centrostal cost PLN 2,500, knowing the average price per ton is easy to count. For the hole, 1 cubic meter of concrete + 0.5 knots of tritin.
    As for the idea, how do you get your place? The single swivels will take up a lot of space so that they do not shade each other.
  • #23
    kotbury
    Gantry automation specialist
    At the ground it's just an idea - I will do them on the roof, but the target CIGSs are small (70 cm wide), so even if I place them wider, they will climb onto the roof. How it comes out and if I can do it - we'll see.
    On the ground you actually need a lot of unshaded space, but if someone has a live field ... I noticed that some large farms have this tracking solution.
    PS.
    The previous speaker has 2.5 tons of concrete in the ground.
    However, in the last 4 years, I had one storm with the wind and rain speed of 212 km / h measured by the local weather station. Hundred-year-old linden trees (barely), and such a tracker? will not turn into a glider?

    Profitability, as the previous speakers noted, is debatable. And no one counts the work put into the design of the controller - but after all, it's a DIY department.
  • #24
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    kotbury wrote:
    and such a tracker? will not turn into a glider?

    I already wrote, a parked, flattened tracker, the surface of which is so minimized, practically offers no resistance, not like a leafy tree.
    Of course, not for a whirlwind, so there is also insurance, quite large, higher than the above-mentioned costs.
  • #25
    alt11
    Level 11  
    A year ago, we were to carry out an order in an unusual company with very unusual trackers - very interesting.
    Quite a different approach to construction and very logical. Placing the supporting structure on roller guides with four support places. Cheaper and more effective. There is only one downside to this design - sensitivity to freezing snow.

    One- and two-axis solar trackers

    https://youtu.be/D7Dy4avnzWo
  • #26
    czarodziej1968
    Level 14  
    zimny8 wrote:
    Let me present my own constructions of my own performance.

    Congratulations on the project. It is a pity that you did not provide more details, because the project is interesting.

    zimny8 wrote:
    Costs:
    2020 - around 7,000 zloty.
    2021 - considerable, around 9,000 + 5,000 inverter zloty
    Does it all make sense? only thanks to the contribution of my own work.

    It would make sense if you could break down the cost of the PV and the cost of the trackers. Perhaps then you would avoid "weak" entries "it is not profitable".
    zimny8 wrote:
    I have orders locally

    Oh, I would think twice about it. If you are doing something that is not fully proven at home, then you will hurt yourself at best. Although there is a big option that the storm will tear the panels out and fly somewhere to the neighbor. The factory trackers are numbered and the manufacturer informs you what winds he can withstand. It is a big puzzle in your construction.

    zimny8 wrote:
    From my observations and comparisons to my neighbors, I have over 40% of them, but this difference will not be everywhere.


    A 40 percent increase in efficiency compared to a fixed installation is quite real. Well, it just depends what you compare to.
    Some of my installations work on trackers, some panels are mounted on the roof. The roof panels face south, almost perfectly, a few steps to the east. The tilt angle is 45 degrees, this is the roof.
    The installation has been in operation for 1.5 years and I have the opportunity to calculate exactly what is the difference between the panels working in exactly the same light conditions. In my case it is 35.6%. The 40% mentioned would be realistic, but on the eastern side, the neighbor has a high hedge that covers some of the lower panels on the tracker in the morning. In the evening, from the west side, I have tall trees that block the sun. On the longest sunny days, my production ends around 20:00, and it could pump for an hour more.
    The installation is on microinverters, I have a preview of each panel and I can calculate exactly how much electricity it gives.

    zimny8 wrote:
    Buddy, after flattening, they put up almost no resistance to the wind, it was already windy and nothing.

    I would seriously consider some extra security. I see trackers placed on hills. The platform can lie flat, but the wind can bounce off the slope and lift everything up. Today the weather is less and less predictable. I check the weather and if there is any information that there will be strong winds, I put it flat and secure it with solid tapes. The operation takes a few minutes, and I have peace of mind. Besides, I like my neighbors and I wouldn't want my trackers to hurt them. It is also an amateur construction ;)
  • #27
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    Very constructive, helpful, thanks.
    Belts are a great idea, I have where to attach in the 3 points you use, where can I buy?
    It's a pity that I haven't heard of microinverters before.
    How many and what panels do you have, on the tracker and the roof, total power?
  • #28
    Karol966
    Level 30  
    And I have a question, how to calculate the profitability of a tracker that only controls the inclination of the installation? Any single or double axis trackers behave differently (they track the sun), even a single axis tracker follows it. I am considering installing only with the tilt angle adjustment. I have 10 kW (I just poured concrete on the poles), on the front / lower poles I have bearings in housings and PV rails are cross-bolted to them. So you can easily adjust the height (enough on the rear / upper legs) mount the actuators. But does it make economic sense? I have 7 legs, so 7 actuators would be needed, which is PLN 1300 for the drives only. I estimate modestly that as a percentage it could be a greater relative profit in winter than in summer. Initially, I did 30 '(so that this installation was not too "gigantic", but in winter you do not sit on the terrace anyway and it is worth catching every ray of the sun).
    One- and two-axis solar trackers
  • #29
    czarodziej1968
    Level 14  
    zimny8 wrote:
    Belts are a great idea, I have where to attach in the 3 points you use, where can I buy?

    I bought a transport belt, something like this https://allegro.pl/oferta/pas-transportowy-2t-2000-kg-100m-25mm-hit-8941168574. I can see that even the price has not changed in over a year :D Can be found in shorter lengths. Other sizes. I recommend :)

    zimny8 wrote:
    How many and what panels do you have, on the tracker and the roof, total power?

    I have 12 305 Wp panels on the trackers, 4 the same panels on the roof, plus the old 4 235 Wp panels, which I installed a few years ago for testing and learning purposes. I wrote about them here: https://www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/topic2850862.html
    Now it looks like this:

    One- and two-axis solar trackers

    One- and two-axis solar trackers

    One- and two-axis solar trackers

    Microinverters were a good solution for me, the panels were separated by a good 50m, additionally there is a mixture. I wouldn't get it on the inverter. Another advantage is that I can expand the installation at any time. You just need to buy more panels and another microinverter. I used APSystems YC-1000-3. Three-phase microinverters.

    Karol966 wrote:
    And I have a question, how to calculate the profitability of a tracker that only controls the inclination of the installation?

    Watch this video, it might be helpful.

    https://youtu.be/ySJ0VxuKhBs?t=1

    Man has a lot of knowledge when it comes to all calculations. Check out his feed. When it comes to the winter months, I wouldn't be killing myself in any particular way. See the production of my installation per year. November, December and January, a disaster. These are dead months, short days, enough sunshine as medicine.

    One- and two-axis solar trackers
  • #30
    zimny8
    Level 33  
    Kolego czarodziej1968, well, you have grown up pretty among carrots and others ;) .

    Coming back to the already famous picture:

    One- and two-axis solar trackers

    Can someone describe how it is possible, when the simple geometry shows that the plane on which the sun's rays fall at an angle of 90 degrees is 100%, and for example at 45 degrees it is 50% of its visibility.
    After all, this is what it is about, how large a surface is illuminated.
    Take a piece of paper, twist it and experience what if the piece of paper seems to be illuminated all the time, when the amount of incident solar "rays" at e.g. 45 degrees will be half as much.

    So how does this relate to this graphic?