On sunny days during winter, when snow is on ground (our panels are also ground mounted) we can collect nearly 10% more energy simply due to the surrounding snow cover, when compared with say the middle of June
My understanding of 'tilt' or installing a devise to tilt or follow the sun is this; Our panels are set stationary at a 45 degree angle toward the 'winter' sun...due South.....with the majority of sunlight effect coming between 9AM and 3PM, making the use of a tilt unnecessary...at least for our purposes in Northern Wisconsin. We have an Electrician Friend who installed a similar system (2100KV) with an auto tilt devise that also 'uses' power to complete the tilt. While his home is somewhat bigger.....ours has the smaller Electric bill each month....with no tilting or devise for following the sun as it sets....as the effect is lessened considerably as it does so...Do your research well...
Last edited by droneBEE; 02-28-2017 at 12:30 PM.
I suppose you meant a 2,100kW (kilowatt, rather than kilovolt) system.
Originally Posted by droneBEE
Some basics for future reference, those who are curious, etc:
The watt is a unit of power, and power is energy used (work) over a period of time; the symbol for the watt is "W", and a "k" is a symbol that's simply a generic metric unit prefix which means the unit is multiplied by 1,000. The kilovolt (kV), on the other hand (the "k" prefix still means multiply by 1,000), is a unit of voltage (electromotive force) and it can be used to calculate power (voltage multiplied by current, or voltage squared divided by resistance). But typically when it comes to production or transmission of power, it's used to indicate a conversion factor (especially when referring to kilovolts); for example, those large, long distance power transmission towers might be delivering 230kV. The current they carry varies depending on the overall load, but it's a relatively smaller and proportionally inverse amount. Transformers step up or down the voltage, and when the voltage gets stepped down, the current is getting "stepped up" an inverse proportion.
My point was that keeping your panels stationary is perfectly fine since most of the sunlight is caught from 9AM to 3 PM......tilting only allows a little bit more energy to be caught but also robs the system of power, especially on cloudy days IMHO
I've read that sun tracking can add up to 50% more energy collected, but I've not researched very far into how true that is or not.
I have also seen a video that shows a passive tracking system that whilst it is not as efficient as an active system, is still something like 10% more efficient, and was designed using genetic programming techniques.
> a non-tracking concentrator
One of my particular interests in solar is in the use of transport, and fitting vehicles with solar panels to reduce the need to plug in and recharge.
One example there we might see make it into production is:
That hasn't been my experience.
As said, we receive the most direct sunlight, thus we also collect the most energy from 9AM to 3PM. Although our panels are getting 'some' energy up until sunset it isn't enough for me to invest time/money to turn or tilt the panels.
Besides I really like the freedom of having no moving parts to worry about.....We had a friend from Florida who left on a trip for two weeks and upon returning home, found his 'auto tilting' panels stuck facing East.....and his batteries nearly dead...