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Thread: solar array tracking the angle of the sun

  1. #1

    solar array tracking the angle of the sun

    we're putting up our first solar array with 16 solar panels (4 sets of 4 panels) and are wondering anyone here has done the same.
    if so, what did you use to track the angle of the sun as the season's change? thanks for your help

  2. #2
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    Back when we lived off grid, a thousand years ago, we had just gotten used to our first 7 panels when we suddenly realized we had all the water power we'd ever need. We never had to worry about tracking.

    There are passive and active trackers that will take that array of panels that you have and will keep them always pointed exactly at the sun. One steel post cemented in the ground and you'll never have to climb a ladder.

    There are still seasonal adjustments but they are minor and easy and it is amazing how much power is gained by aiming at the sun all day long.

    Personally, I like the passive trackers. They take no power to run, they are reliable and accurate, and unless you put a bullet hole on a freon tube, they don't break down.

    All this from a guy who never lived with it but I have helped others do it and seen the results.

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    LHBA Member Shark's Avatar
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    I know the cost of panels has come down recently, not sure on controllers/batteries.

    What would be the minimum"size" for a shtf type, only in emergency situation to have something to run lights, chargers, etc. Bare minimum?

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  4. #4
    thanks LogHouseNut. we'll look into passive with freon! wondering if anyone has a DIY process. my mind goes back to the old lawn 'lounge' chairs whose backs could be lowered to almost recline. something simple but way more durable. open to ideas! thanks very much

  5. #5
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    You mean like the deck chairs on the Titanic?!!!

    Maybe I misunderstood the question and started dragging that dead Coon off in the wrong direction.

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    Every time I have strayed from the teachings of Skip Ellsworth it has cost me money.

    I love the mask mandate. I hardly ever have to bruh my teeth anymore.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    I know the cost of panels has come down recently, not sure on controllers/batteries.

    What would be the minimum"size" for a shtf type, only in emergency situation to have something to run lights, chargers, etc. Bare minimum?
    Even at a bare minimum, you need more info. Specifically, you'll need to total power required for your list, including the "etc.". You'll also need to decide if you need batteries at all. My preference is a whole house system, but that is definitely not minimum. (My land is off-grid)

    Have you looked at Jackery's? Bluetti (sp?) is another competitor in that class, which is often called "solar generators". It includes the battery and all the circuitry to get you 120 volts AC, USB, etc. And obviously (from the term "solar generators"), you can use solar panels to charge them.

    These are generally in the energy/power range for emergency scenarios, and they're turnkey.


    Peter


    PS Prices may seem high at first, but to be fair, output is pure sine wave (not modified sine wave, or worse, square wave), and a lot of components are integrated (charger from solar, charger from 120 volts AC, inverter, etc.). I am tempted, but juggling a lot of projects right now.
    Last edited by donjuedo; 09-01-2021 at 10:52 AM.

  7. #7
    LHBA Member BoFuller's Avatar
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    I don’t remember where you are located. In AZ we don’t need trackers. I have 12 panels on the roof facing South and we’re good all year ‘round.
    The people I have talked to said trackers are marginal in helping. One friend adjusts his twice a year, spring and fall.


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  8. #8
    thanks Bo. i love your idea. we are going to end up adjusting 3x per year and we're OK with that! i appreciate everyone's input.
    Happy Autumn!!

  9. #9
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
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    Trackers have become moot in the wake of the invention of MPPT charge controllers. Set the angle of your panels to the sun's elevation in winter, for when you need them to perform the most. You'll get more than enough to keep your batteries up in the summer, even set at this angle.

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  10. #10
    Thanks, Rod. i appreciate it

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