I’m turning my home made solar system into a tracking system. Details on the construction can be found here. It turns out that the plumbing unions I used work great as bearings and the system is nearly balanced so all I had to do was add a couple linear actuators and electronics to make it a tracker. So far I just have one actuator working. Hoping the other one comes in today.

I’m also 1/2 of a Megawatt hour (500HWH) ahead on my PG&E usage so far. But this yard collector is responsible for 400KWH of the excess production. But the SolarCity panels are 100KWH ahead of the game so I’m pretty happy with SolarCity so far.



  1. Lupita says:

    Yes, SolarCity is a great pick. It’s one of the products we clean with few hassles.

  2. WmDE says:

    Now if I were doing that I would have used an equatorial mount. Placed the panels for optimum winter sun. (Or manually adjustable for the season.)

    A photocell that is just in shadow when the array is pointed properly. When direct sun falls on photocell the actuator is energized bumping the array westward until the photocell is in the shade again.

    Using another photocell to detect insufficient light, actuator is reversed moving array eastward to await sunrise.

    One actuator, a couple diodes, two limit switches, two relays, two photocells. Admittedly no “high wind position” but I suspect your high wind solution is going to oscillate real well. Tie downs are the best solution.

    • bobbo, AGW is Anthropormorphic Global Warming. Its why yeast stops growing in any confined space: they reproduce and consume until they die in their own shit. says:

      That was a pleasure to read. Simple, reliable…..when tracking at all makes any sense? ((Run the numbers!!))

      There is “a beauty” in no moving parts. In moving parts too…comes down to time and money.

      It would be of interest to me if I had such a system to cost out what size battery operation would be cost effective for winter operations?…. and how to maximize the excess generation of summer time. Selling to PG&E at reduced rates provides a fair target.

      • NewFormatSux says:

        >That was a pleasure to read. Simple, reliable…..

        You might learn something…

  3. NewFormatSux says:

    >the plumbing unions I used work great as bearings

    I’m sure the unions love your high opinion of them.

  4. dogphlap says:

    4 cents per kW hour is pretty insulting.
    My girl friend has a little 2kW system on her roof and her utility pays her 6 cents per kW hour and I thought that was rude. They sell at four times that rate i.e. 24 cents per kWh which is what they charge her when she is making less than she needs or charge her neighbours for the stuff she is getting 6 cents for per kWh to export. In addition her bill has a fixed “Supply Charge” to cover the utilities costs for provision and maintenance of her grid connection so no she is exploiting no one but I can’t say the same for the utility.

  5. NewFormatSux says:

    Should the headline say tracking solar? Or is Perkel entranced by the Elon cult?

  6. Mr Anderson says:

    Isn’t that spacial?)

  7. Ah_Yea says:

    Next – SKYNET.

    • NewFormatSux says:

      What, you thought Perkel was a real person?

      • Ah_Yea says:

        Ohh, I get it now!

        Let me see if I’m ready.

        Rifle – Check
        Ammo – Check
        Beer – Check
        Shack in Montana – Check

        BRING IT ON, PERKEL!!

  8. US says:

    I think you must have had a teenager as the camera person, that is the only legitimate excuse for having vertical video.


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