Open source solar tracker project "Heliowatcher"


I found this open-source solar tracker project :

For the mechanical part I like the idea because it is quite simple but it was realized for a 40 W solar panel.

@msanti : do you think we could adapt it to a bigger structure (for example 2m * 3m)?

Bigger structure

The solution proposed for the Heliowatcher, at a first glance, is not easily scalable to bigger dimensions. Although the weight of the panels itself is not so much, the car jack dimensions would be larger and the arms would begin to flex.

Maybe a central axis is much practical to rotate the panels.

I haven’t already read all the documentation, but I’ve a question: in general, most trackers have 2 DOF (degrees of freedom): a rotation around a vertical axis, and the inclination. What is the most relevant in term of increased efficiency of the panels? One could imagine to control only one parameter and accept a residual loss in potential efficiency?

2 axis vs 1 axis

What really matters is that the solar trackers follows the sun from west to east (azimuth). There are two ways of doing that : using the vertical axis or using the longitudinal axis (see the schemas in this document). From what I read tracking the sun’s elevation increases the efficiency to at most 10%. It needs some deeper research about that (you can also look at this calculation tool).

In the case we’d use a single axis solar tracker we should imagine a system with slots used to set the panel inclination. This one will change depending the place where you will use the tracker (the optimal inclination in not the same in Stockholm as in Matera).

I want to support your project. I’m interested by solar trackers. In the future I think all the people will use solar trackers

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Hi zaraavi!


Thank you for your message! How do you think you could support the project?

I’m essentially looking for experts for the mechanical / electrical part but if you have any other ideas of contribution they are welcome!


Hi Marc

I’m not electrician or mechanic. I have my project to save our earth And your project is related with mine. I will speak about protection of our planet.

I think we can install solar trackers on the cars.