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Louvre style solar tracker


Chris Hobson
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I am busy designing a system which may end up with over 200 panels. On that sort of scale one could conceivably install a tracker. The couple of quotes I have received on the Art-Deger style tracker are not cost effective. Does someone have the details of a company/individual that manufactures louvre styled solar trackers? Space is not an issue but I want to ensure I have looked at all the options to reduce costs.

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I'm planning a similar tracker. I'm planning a frame that will have 6 panels lingitudinaly aligned, eached with a pivot mechanism in the middle. The panel tilt in the frame would be adjustable in north-west direction and then the whole frame would also pivot, following the sun during the day. I'm planning to build the main frame frame from 50mmx75mm rectangular mild steel tubing. The 2 a-frames the main frame will be pivoting on will be mounted directly to the walls above my flat roof sitting room.

The plans are in my head and on paper, material laying in my workshop, but time to actually build it seems to be lacking. Maybe when my 2 axis tracking kit ( 2 x linear actuators and controller) arrives one day (ordered on ebay for $139) i will maybe MAKE the time to finish it. Plan is to make 2 frames with 12 x 250w panels, both of which wi be tracked by the actuators.

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I do not think that there are really that many manufacturers/installers of the Art-Deger style tracker systems in SA.

I understand that you mention that you are yet to receive a "reasonable" quote, but my question would be , What is reasonable?

Are there any type of formula or even an algorithm that will make sense as to how we determine the price? What I am trying to get at is in example, If you build one tracking system capable of tracking with one panel, there is no way in hell that it will be feasable. But for a small aditional cost one can involve lets say 4-6 panels on the same tracker base unit, and this then might become feasable/reasonable.

On the Art-Deger style tracker system I forsee that a good ratio of panels to drive would be around 6-8. Obviously one can just up the drive, but to transfer effectively on the distance involved in my opinion is not feasable. Let's assume the panels are all 1m wide, this would then require one "string/combination" to be at least 8.5meter wide for 6 panels. (there are a few ways to minimise the effect)

Another problem we have in SA mainly is the pricing on Solar "fixture hardware" In my opinion this type of tracking is the most cost effective and the most practical solution for the amount of panels you are hinting at. Provided that these be mounted at ground level, as installing this on a pitched roof would dramatically increase the cost.

In general I cannot see that the Art-Deger style tracker system can be WAY more expensive than other general 2 axis tracking systems. so from there my question as to "What is a reasonable price."

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I'm planning something like this,592d5ddf18887_Trackerframe.PNG.702940e9baa14b24c46affb31529ba85.PNG

only with 6 panels (2 x 3 strings) Reason for this is that I've got a 6m x 8m Flat roof structure to utilize, 4 meters from my inverter. When I get to move my inverter installation (one day as planned) it will only move over to the other side of the structure, so cable distance will stay the same. I think I will have way less wind resistance with such a setup. If I mount 2 x panel frames there will still be more than enough space to move around for maintenance (roof has got a 5deg angle facing East so it's basically flat) My only concern with 2 frames next to each other is shading early morning and late afternoon. One of the frames WILL be getting the other's shade but I guess this will be very little and only early morning and late afternoon. Seeing that I'm going to build only one frame to mount my existing 6 panels for now, shading will be a problem for another day.  

The 2 axis tracking system I've ordered from Ebay comes from China (So what! so does my Axpert). It's got 2 500lbs linear actuators, control unit with LCD display, solar sensor and a wind sensor so it can be programmed to into a certain position when wind speeds exceeds xxx meters per second. The whole setup is going to cost me less than R4k (except labour of course, which is free in my case)

@Chris Hobson, Seeing that you're planning a whole solar farm, I guess you'll be needing something in this lineUS08273978-20120925-D00000.thumb.png.bea4e9e4d0c1eabc75136deef5edcd19.png

Seeing that it can be mounted on the ground, building it will be much cheaper when using mild steel materials. Also here in the Karoo we don't have problems with rust. A good coat of NS4 and you're good to go. Art-Deger style trackers is moer expensive, I guess for the simple fact that when erecting a sail (basically what it'll be) with such huge wind resistance, no flimsy (or cheap) materials can be used. If you take for example 6 x 250Wp panels like mine have a combined surface of 9.6 square meters. That's yacht size!! With independent tilting panels you'll have lots of space for wind to pass through, reducing wind resistance and by also reducing forces and stresses on the supporting structure.

Now I'm waiting for it "Why not add another panel or two" but hey! What's the fun in that?? I want to do it.......because I can!!

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  • 7 months later...
On 5/30/2017 at 2:47 PM, Czauto said:

I'm planning something like this,592d5ddf18887_Trackerframe.PNG.702940e9baa14b24c46affb31529ba85.PNG

only with 6 panels (2 x 3 strings) Reason for this is that I've got a 6m x 8m Flat roof structure to utilize, 4 meters from my inverter. When I get to move my inverter installation (one day as planned) it will only move over to the other side of the structure, so cable distance will stay the same. I think I will have way less wind resistance with such a setup. If I mount 2 x panel frames there will still be more than enough space to move around for maintenance (roof has got a 5deg angle facing East so it's basically flat) My only concern with 2 frames next to each other is shading early morning and late afternoon. One of the frames WILL be getting the other's shade but I guess this will be very little and only early morning and late afternoon. Seeing that I'm going to build only one frame to mount my existing 6 panels for now, shading will be a problem for another day.  

The 2 axis tracking system I've ordered from Ebay comes from China (So what! so does my Axpert). It's got 2 500lbs linear actuators, control unit with LCD display, solar sensor and a wind sensor so it can be programmed to into a certain position when wind speeds exceeds xxx meters per second. The whole setup is going to cost me less than R4k (except labour of course, which is free in my case)

@Chris Hobson, Seeing that you're planning a whole solar farm, I guess you'll be needing something in this lineUS08273978-20120925-D00000.thumb.png.bea4e9e4d0c1eabc75136deef5edcd19.png

Seeing that it can be mounted on the ground, building it will be much cheaper when using mild steel materials. Also here in the Karoo we don't have problems with rust. A good coat of NS4 and you're good to go. Art-Deger style trackers is moer expensive, I guess for the simple fact that when erecting a sail (basically what it'll be) with such huge wind resistance, no flimsy (or cheap) materials can be used. If you take for example 6 x 250Wp panels like mine have a combined surface of 9.6 square meters. That's yacht size!! With independent tilting panels you'll have lots of space for wind to pass through, reducing wind resistance and by also reducing forces and stresses on the supporting structure.

Now I'm waiting for it "Why not add another panel or two" but hey! What's the fun in that?? I want to do it.......because I can!!

 

Hi, 

 

Did you ever build this? How's it working?

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