I have always been fascinated with solar PV tracking systems. Panels are mounted on a pole and are usually “dual-axis”, meaning they are able to track the sun through-out the day with the panels always facing 90 degrees to the sun. The newer system use local weather data and GPS to automatically make seasonal adjustments.
The companies that sell these claim that by tracking they get 40% more power out-put from the panels.
For houses that don’t have a suitable roof or have excessive shading, or for clients that don’t want panels on their roof for aesthetic reasons, trackers can make good sense. The property does have to be big enough to support the trackers and they do have to meet setback and coverage requirements.
Additional costs involve installing a foundation and trenching a conduit from the tracker to the homes electrical service. The DC to AC inverter is usually mounted to the pole below the panels.
I recently came across a very cool product called the “SmartFlower”. I was taken by it’s elegance and function. Like a flower, it opens daily and follows the sun to maximize energy harvest, then closes at night or in high winds for protection.
The product is due to be available in the US market in late October. The standard system is 2.5kW but is said to be the equivalent of a 4 kW roof mounted system. It is priced at 16.9k ($6.76/watt) not including installation or trenching. Not inexpensive, but not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be.
I think it has to be viewed as kinetic sculpture as well as an efficient power producer. Check out one of the videos on you tube.