Exploring Solar Trackers in Chicago, IL

Many Americans have already installed solar tracking systems on their homes and large corporate properties. It has become an effective practice in the USA, as it allows for saving natural resources and money.

According to forecasts from the U.S. Solar Market Insight and their Year-in-Review 2023 report, the total solar capacity in the USA is expected to reach 673 GW by 2034, equivalent to providing energy to over 100 million homes. These figures indicate the rapid development of solar power in the country.

Despite the fact that installing a PV system is a great solution, it’s not cheap. As a commercial property owner or a homeowner, you’re probably looking for a surefire way to get the maximum return on your investments and make sure that every penny spent works for you.

So, how can you ensure your solar system works at its maximum capacity? The answer is solar trackers. But here’s the thing: if that’s the only effective solution, how much money do you have to invest in a solar panel tracking system? And what is more profitable: getting a solar tracker in Chicago or installing a larger number of panels? Read on to learn more.

Understanding Solar Tracking Systems

There’s no denying that solar panels are a great way to harness solar energy. But their efficiency depends on how much sunlight they receive. That’s when solar panels that follow the sun with trackers come into play.

What Is a Solar Tracker?

The best way to demonstrate the principle of solar tracking software is that you will be surprised, but it’s ordinary sunflowers. Remember how thousands of these flowers always turn their heads towards the sun? So does the solar tracker; it follows the blazing star in the same way.

Speaking more seriously, solar trackers are motorized smart mounting systems. If you see solar panels that move with the sun, they are equipped with them. This maximizes the amount of sunlight reaching the panels, leading to increased electricity production.

Modern solar tracker models allow for both ground and rooftop installations.

Benefits of Installing Solar Tracker in Chicago

Research shows that single-axis tracker solar increases energy production by 20-25% compared to fixed-panel systems, and dual-axis trackers achieve even greater increases (up to 40%). This is quite an obvious advantage, which attracts potential buyers of solar trackers in Chicago.

In addition, thanks to these devices:

  • The efficiency of the solar system’s operation is increased. By maximizing the impact of sunlight, a solar panel tracker allows solar panels to operate closer to their peak efficiency level for longer periods.
  • Land area is better utilized. Trackers placed close to each other do not require as much space as panels, which require consideration of seasonal angles of sunlight.
  • Financial savings are achieved. Increased energy production leads to savings on electricity bills and reduces the payback period of your solar system.
  • Natural resources are conserved. Increasing solar energy production reduces your dependence on fossil fuels, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and protects the environment.

Are you interested in savings and environmental friendliness? A solar tracking system can be a reliable ally on the path to these goals.

Types of Solar Trackers in Chicago

Understanding how the type of drive classifies solar trackers is important for several reasons.

Firstly, it helps compare different models and choose the best fit for your needs.

Secondly, it allows assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each type, which contributes to making an informed decision.

Therefore, there are three types of solar devices based on the drive type.

1. Manual Solar Trackers in Chicago

Although they are the cheapest option, they require significant effort. You need to constantly adjust them throughout the day by manually turning the panels towards the sun. This can be tiring and impractical as it requires constant attention and physical presence.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Simple installation and maintenance.
  • Significant cost savings.
  • Need for constant monitoring.
  • Inability to automate.
  • Low efficiency.

However, manual solar trackers in Chicago are suitable for those with limited roof space and those who only use solar panels periodically.

2. Passive Solar Trackers in Chicago

Passive trackers are an inventive solution for automatically aligning sun tracking solar panels.

They contain a special fluid in sealed chambers located on both sides of the panels. The fluid has a low boiling point, making it sensitive to solar heat. When sunlight heats one side of the tracker, the fluid in the chamber evaporates and expands, creating pressure that pushes a piston connected to the tilt system. The moving piston tilts the panels towards the sun.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Simple construction.
  • High energy efficiency.
  • Higher resistance to breakdowns.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Slower response to changes in the sun’s position.
  • Limited sensitivity in cold or wet conditions.

This type of tracker is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious individuals and those who appreciate simplicity and reliability.

3. Active Solar Trackers in Chicago

These are the most advanced types of trackers, using computer control and motors to dynamically align solar panels with the sun throughout the day. Their automated operation maximizes energy production, freeing you from routine adjustments.

How do they work? Solar panel trackers, equipped with sensors, constantly track the sun’s position. This data is transmitted to a computer, which calculates the optimal tilt angle of the panels and controls the motors to move the tilt mechanisms of the device.

Depending on the movement, there are dual-axis and single-axis trackers.

A graphic showing the principle of work of single-axis and dual-axis trackers
Source: Endesa

A single-axis solar tracker rotates panels on one axis, usually from east to west, making them cheaper, while a dual-axis solar tracker tilts in two planes (east-west and north-south), making them more efficient and expensive.

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Maximum efficiency
  • Automation of adjustments
  • Perfect accuracy in aligning panels with the sun
  • Operation in any weather conditions and on any terrain
  • High cost
  • Complexity of installation and maintenance

Active trackers are the best solar tracking systems. If the solar panel tracking system price is not a problem for you and you aim for maximum efficiency, opt for this type.

Before purchasing any type of tracker, consult experts from solar tracker companies to assess your needs, budget, and operating conditions.

Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Solar Tracker

Understanding the pitfalls that await you is important to avoid making a mistake. Let’s take a closer look at each one.


Solar tracking system prices vary depending on several factors, the most important of which is the scale of your solar system. The more panels you plan to use, the more powerful and expensive a device you need (or maybe even more than one). The table shows the approximate pricing policy.

Scale of the solar system Solar trackers cost
1000 Watts $1.066
2000 Watts $2.134
3000 Watts $3.201
4000 Watts $4.269

* The prices listed are approximate and will vary depending on the specific supplier and configuration.

However, don’t forget about other factors that affect the investment volume:

  • Drive type: Manual trackers are the cheapest, while active ones are the most expensive. Passive type falls in the middle.
  • Number of rotation axes: A single-axis solar tracking system is cheaper than a dual-axis one.
  • Brand and quality: Well-known brands and high-quality components usually cost more.

Be prepared that the price of a solar tracker will account for 25% to 40% of the total cost of the solar system.


When choosing solar tracking panels, it’s important to consider the system’s complexity in addition to cost. Trackers equipped with motors and electrical components increase a solar power plant’s productivity while requiring maintenance, which can create additional costs and difficulties during the operational period.

However, the simplest construction tracker is not always the best solution. It might pay off quickly, but chances are it will fail or disappoint you with its technical characteristics.


The last factor that is in order but not in priority is the geographic location of your home.

Moving solar panels is very useful in regions with high solar radiation levels throughout the year, such as Chicago. There, an average of 2,565 hours of sunlight (out of a possible 4,383) is received per year, which is a significant figure. With solar devices, a PV system will maximize sunlight utilization throughout the day, increasing electricity production by more than 10%.

A solar panel sun tracker may be less advantageous in regions with less sunlight or significant shading. A fixed tilt system with more panels may be more economically viable in such cases.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Sun Tracker Solar Panel

Like any mechanical system, a solar sun tracker requires regular maintenance and care. This is necessary to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

It is recommended that a professional annual inspection of rotating solar panels is conducted.  A solar battery specialist will check the tracker for damage, wear, and tear, as well as proper operation and clean it from dust and dirt.

Self-administered visual inspections should be performed monthly to ensure there are no visible damages, such as rust, cracks, or weakened sun tracking solar panel mounts.

Maintenance of the solar panel tracking system is not limited to inspections. Additionally, you need to protect the sun following solar panels from strong winds and snow and monitor error notifications from the tracker.

With such an approach, you will extend the life of your device.

Should You Equip Your PV System With Tracking Solar Panels?

Solar sun trackers are a great way to increase the energy production of your PV system and save money on electricity bills. However, before deciding on their installation, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons and consider your budget, location, and desired energy production.

Looking for solar panels that follow the sun? Fill out the form to get a free solar quote and find the right solar tracker in Chicago! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do solar trackers in Chicago improve energy production in variable weather conditions?

Commercial or residential solar trackers allow panels to follow the sun throughout the day, maximizing the absorption of rays. That increases energy production, especially in the winter and spring months when the sun is low on the horizon.

What are the advantages of using solar trackers in Chicago’s urban area?

In cities like Chicago, where shading from buildings and other objects affects the efficiency of a solar panel platform, solar trackers allow sunlight to pass through.

How can homeowners in Chicago determine the best type of solar panel tracking for their needs?

Homeowners in Chicago can determine the most suitable type of device by consulting with a qualified solar energy expert. They will assess their needs, consider other factors, and provide advice for purchasing.