Suntura Solar Tracker

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by windyguru, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    The Suntura Solar Tracker will be for sale by the end of the week. We are just working on finishing the installation/assembly manual. The Suntura will come mostly pre-assembled and one person will be able to install it in under 2 hours (That does not include the time required to cement a wooden mounting post into the ground.)

    Here is a series of pictures that I shot on Sunday of the Suntura tracking the sun. It is one picture every five minutes from around 9:30 am until the house blocked the tracker from the sun around 4:45 pm. By the way, it was 80 degrees on Sunday ... not bad for the middle of the winter :D
  2. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    :D I promise you I will be tucking away cash to test these. I have a large field screaming for selling solar energy back. :mrgreen:

    Whats the price tag on these?
  3. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    The price tag will be probably be $1100 with no solar panels.

    We are seriously considering an introductory offer in which you can get four 100 Watt monocrystalline solar panels at $200 each. This would bring the total to about $1900. The customer would need to purchase the 6 in x 8 in x 8 ft wooden post and concrete locally as it makes no sense to ship those items.

    Our "build your own tracker kit" is already available on ebay and will be available here very soon. This is for people want to make their own tracker: ... 5d2d045f8a
  4. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    Thought it was suppose to be around 700-800 with no panels :eek:
  5. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    That is what we thought also

    But, ultimately, the cost to build it dictates the retail price. It is still less expensive than any dual axis tracker on the market. And might I add very nicely built :D
  6. TomT

    TomT WindyNation Engineer

    What is the weight limit for solar panels on this?
    Thought I would ask for anyone who has more than 1 kind of panel and also what is the dimensions length and width of the frame to hold the panels.
  7. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

  8. dlmcbm

    dlmcbm WindyNation Engineer

    Hey bluejay, he did in his second post. just did not put the price. I have them saved on ebay with email updates also so I can see whats new on there.
  9. bluejay

    bluejay WindyNation Engineer

    :eek: I didnt even catch that in the second post :oops:
  10. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert


    The two solar panel mounting arms are both 88 inches long. The center to center distance between the two solar panel mounting arms is 38.5 inches.

    As far as solar panels go, as long as you stay under 500 Watts the tracker will be fine. If you choose to mount your own panels and want to go for around 500 Watts, then I would try to put a ~250 Watt panel on each side of the solar panel mounting arms. Unless, of course, you already have solar panels .... then just mount what you have.

    The tracker can easily move 125 pounds of solar panels as long as you do not mount the solar panels beyond the solar panel mounting arm's 88 inch length.
  11. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    That's pretty cool! How did you make/edit the video to shoot all through the day like that? Are you using a video camera? Let me know because I want to shoot a video like that of our Suntura tracking all throughout the day.

    Also, don't underestimate the force of the wind on six 225 Watt panels! It can be brutal! I would try design the tracker to be able to take something around 25 lbs per square foot. Note that the figures below are the actual psf at a given wind speed. You need to take into account a safety factor of something around ~1.5 (e.g. multiply the psf at a given wind speed by 1.5).

    So, you can see, even at only 100 square feet of panels, the wind loading can be 2500 lbs! This is of course the worst case and unlikely scenario in which you assume the solar panels are perpendicular to the wind. Also, wind speeds at 8 feet above the ground are dramatically lower than the wind speed taken at 25 feet above ground, especially if there are fences/building/trees blocking the wind.

    I guess what I am trying to say is .... build it strong. Really strong :).

    Tropical storm
    Winds: 39 mph
    psf: 6.1
    Category 1
    Winds: 74 mph
    psf: 21.9
    Category 2
    Winds: 96 mph
    psf: 36.9
    Category 3
    Winds: 111 mph
    psf: 49.3
    Category 4
    Winds: 131 mph
    psf: 68.6
    Category 5
    Winds: 155 mph
    psf: 96.1
  12. Hey Guru thanks for the information on the wind load. I think I'm going to start with only 4 panels first and watch it for several months. The tracker is built very strong the part in the video is just the base of the tracker I just wanted to do some testing on the photo-eye circuit. I first bought the ones like the ones in this section but they seem to hunt all day long, even on cloudless days. Tried all the tricks to stop them from hunting but never found the sweet spot. I'm now trying a dual actuator circuit that is on only one board, it seems to do very well, but has trouble in the morning moving to the east after sleeping all night, I can fix that problem with a photo eye curcuit and relay. I use this software it is free for a couple of week than only about $30 great software to do the time lapse with a web cam and laptop. The program also has screen capture and editing for making instructional videos. I think this is the same program Fearless thinker uses.
  13. Minnesota

    Minnesota WindyNation Engineer

    Nope, I use a $30 Nikon S210 (used on Ebay). It can make a time lapse movie (AVI). Set it for 1 frame every 30s and you get 15 hours worth. Longer on longer intervals. You'll need the AC adapter - another $25. They don't put the timelapse feature into too many cameras anymore. It's odd. It's a great feature.

  14. windyguru

    windyguru WindyNation Expert

    Yes, the aimless hunting was a problem when we were re-doing our tracker electronics. When it is sunny, there is no problem. But on cloudy days, when the sun comes in and out of the clouds, it can be a real problem. With a little bit of software code, we took care of the problem.

    Thanks, I will check out the software. Maybe my canon EOS 30D can do time lapse. I'll have to check out the manual.
  15. Minnesota

    Minnesota WindyNation Engineer

    The EOS 30D has it. You're golden.
  16. One thing about the software I like is, it will record in about 10 different formats avi,mov,mp4-etc. also it can steam to the internet to almost any website. the screen record is great also. anyway guys thanks for the information and I'll try to keep you up dated on my Windtura 750 and my solar panel stuff. You guys are great!
  17. Minnesota

    Minnesota WindyNation Engineer

    I caught some nice Cumulus today.​
  18. Not sure on how you do your videos, is it the camera doing the time lapse or the software? great clarity and focus. The software I use can be set to any frame rate and can use any camera input into a pc. Just started using it and it seem like a nice program.
  19. Minnesota

    Minnesota WindyNation Engineer

    The $30 Nikon S210 camera simply makes a time lapse AVI video file movie using one frame every 30 seconds (in this case). I set it up early and later in the day when I download it I'm hoping to discover something wonderful. This is the best I've captured thus far of the sky.

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