Apr 19, 2011

Solar Trackers - What Are They and How They Work

Solar panels are plates of solar cells that absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. The efficiency levels at which solar energy is converted into solar power depends on the type of solar panel/module. For instance, the highest known conversion efficiency for crystalline silicon modules is around 25% [Solar power efficiency] and the figure is much higher for thin-film solar modules.

While technology breakthroughs have a lot to do with enhancing the conversion efficiency of solar panels, solar trackers can play a major role too. These are external gadgets attached to solar power systems that track the sun throughout the day to maximize sunlight absorption. These trackers can alternatively hook on to move reflectors and lenses in order to perform the same function.

How Solar Trackers Work

Solar Tracking System
Solar trackers help maximize the sunlight absorption rate by minimizing the angle of incidence at which sunlight hits the solar panels. This in turn improves the conversion efficiency so the highest amount of power is generated from a fixed amount of sunlight during the day.
The diagram shows how solar trackers can move photovoltaic panels horizontally and vertically in order to effectively utilize sunlight.

(Image credit: www.solar-tracking.com)