NEXTracker™, one of most prominent household names in solar tracker market, has scarcely announced what may turn out to be one of most astounding milestones achieved in the solar energy cosmos in recent times. The company has declared the sale of 10 GW of trackers to numerous projects across five continents. NEXTracker's successful closeout in solar tracker sales is touted to emanate from a plethora of factors inclusive of the company’s commitment toward solar tracker industry growth, its product innovation strategies that contribute toward reduced solar energy costs, and phenomenal customer service. NEXTracker’s dedication toward solar tracker market lays the foundation for numerous other stakeholders to penetrate this fraternity, given its projected momentum. If estimates are to be believed, solar tracker market size was pegged at 12 GW in 2015 in terms of capacity.
U.S. Solar Tracker Market size, by technology, 2015 & 2023 (GW)
Solar tracker industry is a rather pivotal sub-vertical of the solar power sector, given the fact that trackers considerably contribute toward energy output enhancement, by means of moving solar modules towards the sun through horizontal and vertical movements. Its importance is deep-rooted by the fact that global solar tracker installations have risen by more than 50% on a y-o-y basis since 2006, as per an industry report. The report also chronicles the fact that the cost to install rooftop solar panels has fallen from USD 7/watt peak of capacity to USD 4/ watt peak of capacity (or even lesser), as on 2013. These statistics paint a rather attractive picture of solar tracker market outlook in the forthcoming years.
How solar tracker industry will have a profound effect on the utility sector
Solar modules are generally fixed at an optimum angle over the course of a year according to their specific latitude, that can oscillate by 30° depending on the position of the sun. While fixing PV modules at an optimum angle generates an enhancement rate of 15% as opposed to laying them flat, trackers are designed to adapt to the changing weather conditions and the daily changing positions of the sun. This parameter, in particular, has caused an increased deployment of trackers for utilities, thereby leading to a profound change of dynamics in solar tracker market share from the utility sector. Subject to the vital determinant of improved yield being directly proportional to improved efficiency, utility-scale solar installations are being mounted on tracking systems on a surprisingly mammoth scale, thereby creating a favorable growth path for utility-scale solar tracker market.
As per a report compiled by Global Market Insights, Inc., utility applications accounted for more than 80% of the overall solar tracker industry share in 2015, and is likely to garner sizable gains over 2016-2023. This estimated growth, according to analysts, can be credited to the rapidly rising investments in infrastructure development. Regional governments, having long since recognized the transformative power of the solar domain, have been actively pursuing the industry growth via the introduction of novel initiatives and investment schemes to promote solar power technologies.
Solar costs have long since (about half a decade) experienced a considerable dip. It has been observed that solar costs are inversely proportional to solar installations – that is to say, with solar prices witnessing a drop in solar costs, installations have depicted a meteoric rise, which is certain to boost solar tracker market size. The U.S. solar market size alone, in 2015, was six times bigger than what it was worth, in 2010. The commercialization of solar tracker market was potentially huge around the time, with companies forging ahead to extract the maximum out of the expiring tax credits. Now in 2017, companies are looking forward to the proposed Solar Tax Credit Extension, which is certain to transpire sometime soon. This initiative is forecast to have a considerable impact on the solar sector, resulting in an increased number of installations, especially across the utility domain, and will ultimately lead to the propulsion of solar tracker market. It is expected that the estimated valuation for this business space will be largely driven by utility-scale systems, given that annual solar power system installations increased from 4 GW in 2014 to around 7 GW in 2016.
Product innovations in solar tracker industry – Always on a high
NEXTracker, one of most popular solar tracker market giants, apparently leaves no stone unturned when it comes to experimenting with product differentiation tactics. For instance, NEXTracker, while already having made it to the headlines several times since the onset of 2017, for a plethora of commendable accomplishments, had recently announced the launch of TrueCapture™ - a rather intelligent, self-adjusting tracker system designed for solar power plants. This innovation is equipped with a technology that consistently amends the tracking algorithm of every single solar array pertaining to the site in question and the fluctuating climatic conditions. The product is touted to bring about a substantial transformation in solar tracker market, subject to the fact that it delivers energy gains between 2% to 6%, enabling developers to augment solar power plant performance.
The dramatic rise in solar power system performance and reduced costs of major solar power equipment are the key determinants that will enable the extensive deployment of solar trackers in the utility domain. The expenditure on residential and commercial projects is another factor that will substantially contribute toward the overall solar tracker industry share. Judging by the amount of spending on utility development projects and the contribution of major companies and government bodies toward this business space, it would seem as though solar tracker market is certainly positioned to emerge as one of most remunerative fraternities in the years to come.
Written By : Saipriya Iyer