What are the differnences betweeen single-axis and dual-axis solar trackers?

30 Aug , 2023

Single-axis and dual-axis solar trackers are both technologies designed to optimize the orientation of solar panels to maximize their exposure to sunlight and increase energy production. However, they differ in terms of their tracking capabilities and complexity. Here are the main differences between single-axis and dual-axis solar trackers:


Single-Axis Solar Trackers:

Tracking Direction: Single-axis trackers move in one axis only, either horizontally (azimuth) or vertically (elevation). This means they can follow the sun’s movement either from east to west (horizontal tracking) or from sunrise to sunset (vertical tracking), but not both simultaneously.

Tracking Precision: Single-axis trackers are generally less complex than dual-axis trackers, which makes them more reliable and easier to maintain. However, their tracking precision is limited to the axis along which they move.

Energy Gain: Single-axis trackers significantly increase energy production compared with fixed solar panels by optimizing panel angles based on the sun’s position in the sky. They are particularly effective in regions with consistent daily sun patterns.

Cost and Maintenance: Single-axis trackers are often more cost-effective to install and maintain compared with dual-axis trackers due to their simpler mechanical structure and reduced moving parts.

Application: Single-axis trackers are commonly used in utility-scale solar farms and larger commercial installations where maximizing energy production is a priority.


Dual-Axis Solar Trackers:

Tracking Directions: Dual-axis trackers move along both the horizontal (azimuth) and vertical (elevation) axes. This allows them to follow the sun’s movement in all directions, maximizing energy capture throughout the day and across seasons.

Precise Tracking: Dual-axis trackers offer more precise solar panel orientation since they can adjust to the changing angle of the sun throughout the day and year, accounting for variations in solar elevation and azimuth angles.

Maximum Energy Gain: Dual-axis trackers produce the highest energy output among tracker systems because they can capture sunlight from all angles, ensuring optimal panel orientation at all times.

Complexity and Maintenance: Dual-axis trackers are more complex and have a higher number of moving parts compared with single-axis trackers. This complexity can lead to higher installation and maintenance costs.

Appliation: Dual-axis trackers are well-suited for installations in regions with high solar variability, such as locations with frequent cloud cover, varying sun angles, or extreme latitudes.


In summary, single-axis solar trackers provide an effective way to increase energy production while maintaining a simpler design and lower maintenance requirements. Dual-axis solar trackers offer the highest energy gains by precisely orienting panels in all directions, making them suitable for locations with more variable sun patterns. The choice between single-axis and dual-axis trackers depends on factors such as project size, location, budget, and desired energy output.