Simple guide: How to install sun-tracking solar panels in your backyard for cheap

Solar panel systems are generally mounted in fixed positions in the optimal direction to catch as much light as possible.

Automated mechanisms (solar tracker-e) are available on the market that can automatically orient panels to the best position for maximum efficiency, but they cost thousands of dollars and are unaffordable for most people.

There is, however, a much simpler solution, but it requires little daily physical effort. Here’s what it is and what the steps are:

1. Install a fairly thick pipe (10 – 20 cm diameter) in the yard with a solid foundation (item number 3).

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2. Look for a second pipe that the first pipe can fit into almost perfectly and cut a 20 – 30 cm piece out of it (item 2).

3. On the cut piece of pipe the system including the solar panels must be clamped/welded.

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4. A handle (item 1) should be welded to the side of the larger diameter piece of pipe at an angle, with the handle facing the ground.

5. This whole assembly is then fitted to the top of the large pipe.

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6. Using the lever, the panels can be rotated 360 degrees. To make the operation easier, you can grease the contact area between the two pipes with Vaseline.

This system does not cost more than a few hundred lei (pipes, cement, a handle angle and any other materials needed), but it significantly increases the efficiency of photovoltaics.

Photo: Go4it.ro, Wikimedia

Also read: Wind turbine for the home: What you need to know before you buy it

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