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What’s the Difference Between Single and Dual Axis Trackers?

Solar trackers are some of the most efficient forms of solar mounting equipment available; since they “track” the sun’s position in the sky, they’re able to maximize the energy received from the sun throughout the day,, rather than being locked into a single position that becomes somewhat less efficient as the sun’s angle changes, sacrificing optimal energy production for part of each day.

But not all solar trackers are the same. In fact, there are two critical categories of solar tracker, each with their own advantages and disadvantages: single-axis and dual-axis.

Single-Axis Trackers

Single-axis trackers have only one axis of movement, usually aligned with North and South. This allows the panels to arc from east to west, tracking the sun as it rises, travels across the sky, and sets.

Single-axis trackers cost less than dual-axis, and potentially offer more reliability and a longer lifespan as they have fewer moving parts. However, they have a lower energy capture efficiency than their dual-axis counterparts.

Dual-Axis Trackers

Dual-axis trackers have two axes of movement, aligned with North-South and with East-West, giving them a wide range of position options. As seasons change and the sun’s path goes from low in the sky in winter too high in the sky in summer, dual axis trackers can optimize the amount of solar energy captured.

The strength of dual-axis trackers is their ability to maximize energy production. However, they also have a higher degree of mechanical complexity, making them more expensive and requiring more maintenance over their installed lifetime.

Which Is Better?

As you might have guessed already, there’s no objective winner here. Both single-axis and dual-axis solar trackers have advantages and disadvantages and can be useful under different scenarios. Companies need to assess various factors like location, cost, maintenance, efficiency, and reliability when making this decision. Think carefully about which model works best for your jobsite, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to know more.