Solar PV Racking, Fixed Mount or Tracking System?

With algorithms and supporting software, solar PV racking can also become "smart". It allows the photovoltaic panel to turn like a sunflower, always facing the direction of the strongest sunlight. This kind of racking that can automatically adjust its direction and is called solar tracker or tracking system.

Solar PV rackings are divided into two types, one is fixed mounting, and the other is the tracking system. The difference between the two is whether it can automatically "chase" the sun. After the fixed racking is installed, the direction needs to be adjusted manually according to the season and light. Obviously, the performance determines the latter is high in cost. In the previous years, under the industry theme of doing large-scale operations to earn subsidies, the initial purchase cost is the expansion of the scale and subsidies, and the photovoltaic operation and maintenance links are often ignored. Therefore, low-cost fixed brackets were popular. As subsidies recede, technology has become a key push for industry development. The spring of the tracking system has just really arrived.

After experiencing the painful period of sudden reduction or even cancellation of subsidies, the old European photovoltaic powers have completed the reform of the electricity market, and the cost has been drastically reduced. This has ushered in a large-scale growth period in the market; photovoltaic powers led by China are experiencing subsidy decline , manufacturers are racking their brains on how to reduce costs; emerging markets represented by Mexico and India have benefited from the global photovoltaic industry's price decline and technological improvement, and the development momentum is in full swing.

How to reduce costs without subsidies? From the price point of view, the price of polysilicon  has fallen approaching the cost limit, which has caused many companies to reduce production or withdraw; the price of inverters has been cut in half; The price of fixed racking has also been declining year after year. It can be said that the price of various components in the industry chain has not much room for decline.

Another idea is to start from improving the efficiency of PV systems, such as improving module performance, strengthening cleaning and maintenance, and intelligent operation and maintenance. As the only component that can greatly increase power generation, the tracker has become important at this time. Single-axis tracker can increase power generation by 10% to 30%, and dual-axis tracker can increase power generation by 40%. As a result, although the installation cost is increased by 7% to 10% compared with the fixed mounting, it is evenly distributed to each watt, and the cost is lower, which effectively shortens the payback period.

In addition, the problem "unstable operation" of tracking system has been gradually solved with the improvement of technology (using shock absorbers or dampers to prevent wind resonance).

In the long run, the efficiency improvement brought by the trackers will offset the incremental cost of equipment installation and operation and maintenance, and ultimately achieve greater investment returns. Therefore, tracking rackings are being accepted by more and more investors in recent years. Globally, the penetration rate of tracking stents is rising. In 2017, the global tracking bracket accounted for 16% of ground-based photovoltaic power plants. According to GTM Research forecasts, by 2023, this proportion will rise to 42%.

The United States is the world's largest market for solar trackers, and the current proportion of its large-scale ground station tracking systems has exceeded 60%. 
China’s solar tracking system is in a period of rapid development. In 2016, the proportion of trackers installed in all PV projects was only 1.2%, and by 2019 has reached 16%. And trackers will continue to be promoted as one of the important measures to improve system revenue.
The tracking bracket is a highly customized product, which needs to be adapted to local conditions and calculate the optimal control plan according to the terrain and location. This requires extremely high product stability and project experience. Therefore, the owners are extremely strict in reviewing their suppliers, and will check on their qualifications, product quality, credit status, project experience and other aspects.

Under this highly customized cooperation, there are not many manufacturers that can produce mass trackers with excellent performance and also have rich project experience. Although the entire industry seems to have overcapacity and fierce competition, focusing on the high-end market, trackers are often in short supply.

GF New Energy Technologies provide customized dampers and shock absorbers for your solar trackers. Don't hesitate to contact us!