Should I use a tracker or fixed mount for my solar modules?
Q: Should I use a tracker or fixed mount for my solar modules?
A: The answer to this question depends on your application (domestic use or stock watering), the daily volume of water that you need and what time of year you plan to use the pumping system. For most livestock water pumping applications where the highest daily volume of water is usually needed during the summer, a tracker is highly recommended since it can increase your daily water production by as much as 40% as compared to the same array on a fixed mount. In the winter time, a tracker only increases your daily water production by 5-10%. If your daily water volume requirement is low or you are setting a solar pumping system up for winter time use, then a fixed mount structure is probably the best choice. There are several manufacturers of tracking mount structures, but they can all be divided into two categories: active and passive. Active trackers use sensors, actuators and motors to follow the sun from east-to-west while passive trackers use the heat of the sun on two sealed freon containers (one on each side of the tracker connected with a tube) to do the same thing. Passive trackers are simple and reliable, but they aren't as accurate in aiming at the sun as active trackers and they can be blown off course in high winds. On the other hand, active trackers are more trouble prone and more expensive than their passive counterparts.
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