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Solar Panel Tracking

To fit a tracking unit to your solar panel requires some extra planning.  You will need to make sure your array has a secure base mount that will stand up in all weather and winds for your area. Most DIY trackers use a modification of a satellite dish actuator.  These are cheap and fairly reliable, but again, they will need to be fitted so that they are not subjected to any undue stress.  Solar arrays are far heavier than a satellite dish.
Solar Tracking Performace
The actual tracking circuit can be mounted anywhere on your array (the movable part), so that it points to clear sky.  The array of course should be sites away from trees, structures etc that will obstruct sunlight.

Be careful to avoid a site where there may be significant reflected light. If you have a nearby shed or building that reflects a lot of light, the sensors will try to track between the brightest light source. If this is unavoidable, you could place a small "shade" to obstruct the light from that portion of the local sky for the sensor.

Satellite dish actuators have a great advantage, and that is their slow speed of motion, low operating current, and the integral limit switches. Even so, you will have to modify  the the drives gear ratio. The most successful have very high gear ratios. I have noticed that most DIY builds are using about 100,000 to 1,  however, 300,000 to 1 is even better.
You will absolutely need to use a limit switch in the motor circuit. When the tracker goes to park when there is not enough sunlight to operate (eg at night), it drives the motor to the morning sun position assuming it is nightfall.  Without a limit switch, your drive will not stop and will damage your installation.  

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 The efficiency of a fixed panel, compared to optimum tracking of your array varies but can be quite dramatic.  This is especially so in the spring, summer, and autumn the sun covers a larger area of the sky, and a fixed panel can't capture as much sunlight, being as it is usually facing the most sunny position of 12noon.  These are the seasons in which tracking systems give the most benefit.

In the case of a seasonally adjusted array, you can double your output and with a tracking system, you can gain up to three times the average output of a fixed system. Of course, if your local council or location does not allow for a tracking unit, there is no option other than to go for a fixed roof installation or one that at least allows seasonal adjustment.

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