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Solar Tracker Costs 2023

A solar panel tracker ensures you're getting the best out of your solar panels

A single-axis tracker for a 3kWp system costs around £2,500

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If you want to make the most of your investment after paying solar panel prices, how about enabling them to follow the sun throughout the day with a solar panel tracker?

Just like sunflowers move so that they're always facing the sun (the fancy word for this is ‘heliotropism’), a clever bit of technology called a solar PV tracking system can make your solar panels behave in the same way.

This ensures that you can get the most out of your solar PV system, meaning you can increase its daily output by up to 35%.

Solar trackers are currently only available for ground-mounted solar panels, but with solar technology rapidly advancing, it won’t be long before you can have one on your roof.

On this page, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about solar trackers, including the different types and average costs.

To find out how much solar panels will cost you, simply fill in this short form, and our suppliers will contact you with free quotes.

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solar panel tracker

What's on this page?

01 | What is a solar tracker system?
02 | Single-axis vs dual-axis trackers
03 | How much does a solar panel tracker cost?
04 | Should you buy a solar PV tracking system?

 

What is a solar tracker system?

Let’s be honest – it’s simple and convenient to set your solar panels in a fixed position, then leave them there.

If you’re living in the UK, panels should ideally be a) south-facing, b) tilted at about a 30-40° angle, and c) completely unobstructed by shade. If you’ve got this right, you’re already nailing solar power.

However, the Earth doesn’t stop spinning, which means the sun is always moving across the sky. As the sun travels from east to west, the optimum angle for your solar panels continually changes.

The solution: put your panels on a tracker, and they’ll gradually turn throughout the day, so that they are always directly facing the sun.

This keeps the angle at which sunlight hits your solar panels (known as ‘the angle of incidence’) as narrow as possible, and pushes the output of your solar panels to the best it could possibly be.

In most cases, a solar tracker can increase the performance of a solar panel by around 30-35%. Typical gains also vary depending on the time of year, with the summer months being the best time because the sun traverses a much bigger portion of the sky.

A solar tracker can function either passively or actively.

A passive solar tracker works on simple gas canisters that get heavier as they heat up, while an active solar tracker relies on a motor, gears, and a controller, so it’s a bit more expensive.

Did You Know?

According to research by Greentech Media, single-axis solar tracking costs £0.85 per watt. Fill out this form to start receiving free solar panel quotes today.

Want to learn how much solar panels will set you back? Take a look at our solar panel cost page.

 

Single-axis vs dual-axis trackers

How much freedom do you want your solar panels to have? If you’re thinking of buying a solar tracker, you’ll need to choose between two different types: single-axis or dual-axis.

As the name would suggest, a single-axis solar tracker operates on just one axis of movement, meaning it can follow the sun from east to west, but it cannot do anything else.

On the other hand, a dual-axis solar tracker takes that single axis and doubles it, allowing your solar panels to pivot from horizontal to vertical as well as east to west.

This means that, as the seasons change and the sun’s height gradually increases (in the summer) or decreases (in the winter), your panels can respond accordingly.

This function is very helpful if you live somewhere with a high line of latitude (e.g. the UK, Canada, New Zealand etc.), but it’s not very useful elsewhere.

A popular compromise is to use a single-axis solar tracker, and then manually alter the angle of your solar panels a couple of times each year.

In his magnificent guide to solar panel tilting, Charles Landau explains the optimum summer and winter angles for solar panels, along with the ideal time for changing them. Thanks, Charles!

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How much does a solar tracker cost?

The cost of single-axis solar tracking is £0.85 (or $1.08) per watt.

Based on this estimate, here is how much it would cost to mount a typical solar PV system on a single-axis tracker, ranging from a 1 kilowatt-peak (kWp) to a 4kWp system.

Solar PV system size
Cost of single-axis tracker
1kWp
£850
2kWp
£1,701
3kWp
£2,552
4kWp
£3,403

Price estimates updated in January 2023

If you were to mount a 3.5kWp solar PV system (costing around £7,860) on a single-axis tracker, it would cost you around £2,980. This means that a single-axis tracker generally costs about 35% of the total cost of your solar panels.

 

Should you buy a tracker?

Unless you own a large, commercial-scale array of solar panels, it’s probably not worth buying a solar tracker. In real terms, a 35% output gain is hugely significant when it’s applied to a 100kWp system, but not so much when it comes to residential solar panels. Panels on a tracker are also more likely to require planning permission.

Given that the cost of solar panels has fallen by around 6-8% every year since 2010, the cheapest way to increase your household’s supply of solar power is simply to buy more solar panels. Solar PV systems are easily scalable, so it’s not difficult to add extra panels, and you can always opt for one of the most efficient solar panels.

Plus, now is an excellent time to go solar, with our latest National Home Energy Survey revealing that 65% of people are likely to buy a house with solar panels.

Fortunately, we can help you with the next step. To find out how much it will cost you to install new solar panels at home, simply pop your details in here, and our qualified installers will be in touch with free quotes.

Written by:
Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.
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