Solar Trackers: Everything You Need To Know

When considering whether to install ground-mounted solar panels, homeowners have several unique design options available. One common ground-mounted solar design option is using solar trackers. 

As the name implies, these devices move panels to track the sun as it moves across the sky. This can increase solar panel efficiency and output, but it comes with its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at what solar trackers are, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of installing them.


They are a type of solar mounting system that tracks the movement of the sun throughout the day. By following the sun’s movement, solar trackers can optimize the amount of solar radiation they receive and increase energy output.

Solar panels work best when the angle of the sun is directly on the face of the panel. This is called “angle of incidence,” and it is a vital part of solar panel’s efficiency. The only way to substantially improve the solar angle of incidence throughout the day is to move the solar panels so they constantly face the sun.

Because they require movement, solar trackers are most often installed as ground-mounted solar systems. This provides greater space and placement to optimally position the solar panels.


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There are two types of trackers: single-axis and dual-axis.

Single-axis mounts move your solar panels in one direction, either up-and-down or left-to-right. This allows your solar panels to face the sun as it travels higher or lower in the sky (north to south), or across the horizon (east to west).

Dual-axis mounts can move solar panels in two directions, up and down (north to south) and across the horizon (east to west). This allows the solar panels to face the sun directly no matter what time of day or what time of year. Dual-axis systems provide the best efficiency possible for solar panels.


Solar trackers are not necessary for solar panels to function properly. However, they can greatly improve the efficiency of a solar panel system. This can be of greater importance for homeowners with limited space who want their solar panels to produce as much power as possible.


The biggest advantage of solar trackers is their increased efficiency and greater energy production. Because they can maintain an optimal position to the sun throughout the day, single-axis systems can see 25 to 35 percent greater power output, while dual-axis systems can see 30 to 45 percent greater power output. That increase in efficiency can make a huge difference in the payback of your solar investment.

These increases in energy production are even more pronounced in higher latitudes, where the sun’s position in the sky varies dramatically throughout the year (high in the summer, low in the winter). Solar panels in a fixed position cannot adjust for these seasonal changes and are unable to maintain an optimal position relative to the sun.

However, solar trackers do have disadvantages. The primary disadvantage of solar trackers is their higher cost and complexity. Installing solar trackers requires extra equipment, extra time, and expertise. These can all add to the cost of your solar tracker project.

Solar trackers also require more maintenance due to their increased level of complexity and additional moving parts. This can not only cause increased downtime, but it can also add to the cost of owning your solar panels and extend your solar payback period.


Solar trackers definitely have their advantages. Whether you install a single-axis or dual-axis system, you could gain the advantage of increased efficiency and increased energy production compared to regular solar panel racking. This could be crucial if you are working with a limited amount of space and/or you live in a part of the country with significant seasonal solar changes (in higher latitudes). 

The disadvantages are also important to consider, though. The biggest cons of solar trackers is their higher costs and maintenance requirements when compared to regular solar panel racking. 

It’s crucial to weigh these pros and cons when calculating whether solar trackers or regular solar panels are best for your home or business. If you would like help and more information about solar trackers and all things solar, contact Green Ridge Solar today and see what solar solution works best for you.

Also use our Solar Calculator to estimate how much you could save with solar panels.


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