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Solar Trackers: Should You Buy One for Your Hot Water Heater?

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Manufacturers of solar hot water systems now offer buyers the option of acquiring a solar tracking system for domestic and commercial use. Is it necessary for you to buy such a solar tracking system for your residential solar hot water heater? This article discusses some issues that may help you to decide whether you should invest in a solar tracking hot water heating system.

What Solar Tracking Is

A solar tracker is a mechanism that enables the solar collectors (panels) to change their orientation during the day so that maximum energy can be collected from the sun. Those trackers can move in a number of ways.

The first type of tracker (single-axis tracker) makes the panels to adjust the direction that they are facing at different times of the day in order to get energy from the sun. The second type of tracker (dual-axis tracker) adjusts the direction and the tilt angle of the panels so that energy collection is optimised beyond what single-dimensional trackers can achieve.

This tracking system is usually powered by electrical energy from your home. However, some systems use compressed fluids and solar energy to operate.

Advantages of Solar Tracking Systems

You will need fewer panels. Solar tracking systems reduce the need to install several panels because their increased efficiency ensures that you can harvest sufficient energy using fewer panels. This means that you will be able to make full use of the limited space available to install the panels.

Regions with less sun exposure can also be served. It used to be uneconomical to install a solar hot water heater in an area that receives limited sunlight during the day. However, such areas can now benefit from solar power because the solar tracker is able to make the panels harvest all the energy available.

Disadvantages of Solar Trackers

Their upfront cost is high. It is more expensive to buy a solar hot water system with a tracker instead of installing a fixed solar panel system. That added upfront cost might not be justifiable if your projected energy savings will not be able to exceed the installation costs.

They require frequent maintenance. Tracking systems have many moving parts that require regular service and repair in case components fail. This added maintenance can increase the total cost of ownership of the solar hot water system.

As you can see, it may not be easy for a layperson to decide whether it would be beneficial to buy a solar hot water tracking system. The best thing that you can do is to discuss your needs with a solar hot water expert. That professional will help you to weigh the benefits of solar tracking against the drawbacks so that you make an informed final decision.