SOLYS Gear Drive and Solys2: Fully Automatic Sun Tracker

SOLYS2 is a commonly used sun tracker across the globe in meteorological and solar energy applications. It possesses a Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) level of performance and dependability. When compared to other commercially available sun trackers, SOLYS2 facilitates simple installation.

  • Completely automatic Sun Tracker
  • Integrated GPS receiver
  • Facilitates simple installation
  • BSRN level performance
  • Does not require regular maintenance

Using the optional top mounting plate and shading assembly, it is possible to configure SOLYS2 as a fully solar monitored station with up to three ventilated Kipp & Zonen radiometers. The company has a broad set of mounting kits for direct solar radiation instruments.

An advantage over the traditional sun tracker is the combined GPS receiver that enables automated configuration of location and time data after installation. A computer and software are not required for the SOLYS2 setup. It facilitates simple leveling using the integrated bubble level on top.

The rugged and unique cast aluminum housing holds an integrated tripod stand with leveling feet, azimuth adjustment and options to tie-down bolts. The package includes a side plate with zenith adjustment and mounting to facilitate Kipp & Zonen CHP1 pyrheliometer.

The SOLYS2 does not face internal clock drift as there is a regular time update by the GPS receiver. The system will deliver precise output when correctly leveled and aligned and mounted on a solid stable support.

An optional sun sensor is available for active tracking, to verify for motion in support impacted by altering environmental conditions. SOLYS2 is capable of operating from AC to 24 VDC power. Both these are loaded as a standard setup. The operating temperature ranges from −20 °C to +50 °C on DC power. This could be extended to −40 °C on AC power using the standard internal heater.

SOLYS2 incorporates unique design, performance, innovative features, quality and unmatched operation simplicity to the sun tracker, all at an affordable price. The SOLYS2 sun tracker design is based on open-source software.

The installation of the Kipp & Zonen SOLYS 2 sun tracker

Video Credit: Kipp & Zonen


Table 1. Source: Kipp & Zonen

. .
Pointing accuracy <0.1° passive tracking / <0.02° active tracking (with optional sun sensor)
Payload 20 Kg
Power supply 18 to 30 VDC and 90 to 264 VAC (50/60 Hz)
Operating temperature
range, DC
-20 to + 50 °C
Operating temperature
range, AC
-40 to +50 °C
Mounting base Tripod stand
Dimensions 50x34x38 cm / 23 kg ( tracker) 5 kg (tripod)
Communication interface Ethernet / Web interface
Transmission type Inverted tooth belts
Power consumption 21 W (reduces to 13 W at night) 100 W extra when heater is operating (AC only)


SOLYS Gear Drive Sun Tracker

The SOLYS Gear Drive is an advanced sun tracker suitable for all weather conditions and locations. It was developed based on the features of SOLYS 2 and features improved capabilities that make it apt for application in heavy loads and harsh climates.

  • 80 kg payload
  • 60 NM torque
  • Temperature range −50 °C to +60 °C
  • No regular maintenance required
  • Ethernet and RS-485 communication
  • Standard Sun Sensor

It has the ability to precisely point at the sun in very high winds, and to break the ice buildup occurring at night when the tracker is “sleeping.”

High Payload for Multiple and/or Heavy Instruments

The high-accuracy gear drive system does not require regular maintenance and is comparatively powerful than the belt drive system of the SOLYS 2. The maximum payload is enhanced to 80 kg and the torque is increased to 60 Nm. This enables the SOLYS Gear Drive to take multiple and/or heavy instruments and other loads.

The combined GPS receiver enables automated configuration of location and very precise time data upon installation.

Smart Software for Real-Time Status Information

The pre-installed user interface software facilitates remote monitoring and logging operation of the tracker status, sun zenith and azimuth angles, GPS time and date and more.

The software can also be employed to set the communication parameters such as fixed or manual IP address and baud rate. The combined Web Interface can be applied to visualize (get and set) operational parameters, download history log files or upload new firmware on availability.

What Users Need to Build a Solar Monitoring Station

The SOLYS Gear Drive forms the base to hold any set of instruments to monitor solar and sky radiation, facilitating the construction of the solar radiation measurement station. The shading assemblies and other mounting accessories from the SOLYS 2 can be fitted.

An insulated cold-weather cover is available to facilitate operation in extremely cold regions. This enables the application of the system down to −50 °C and wind speed up to 20 m per second. Under very hot climates, the shield can be fitted to enhance the upper-temperature range to +60°C.

SOLYS Gear Drive comes with pre-fitted mountings for the pyrheliometer and includes sun sensors for activity tracking. This setup does not comprise a tripod stand. It can be utilized with the cast aluminum SOLYS Tripod Flood stand. For usage in extreme conditions, a Heavy Duty Tripod Floor Stand is recommended.

SOLYS Gear Drive has been subjected to tests and guarded against the highest levels of ESD, EMC and surge disturbances that might be experienced.

The SOLYS Gear Drive sun tracker with the high accuracy reduction gear integrates the maximum payload, the extreme temperature range and most advanced communication with smart software for instant status information.


Table 2. Source: Kipp & Zonen

. .
Pointing accuracy <0.1° passive tracking / <0.02° active tracking (with optional sun sensor)
Payload 80 Kg
Power supply 18 to 30 VDC and 100 to 240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
Operating temperature range, DC -20 °C to +55 °C -with sun shield upper limit is +60 °C
Operating temperature range, AC -50 °C to +55 °C - with cold cover up to 20 m/s wind speed, with sun shield upper limit of +60 °C
Mounting base Flat base plate (2 types of tripods available)
Dimensions 50x34x38 cm / 23 kg
Communication interface RS-485, Ethernet and web interface, Windows™ software supplied
Transmission type High precision reduction gear
Power consumption 25 W (reduces to 13 W at night), 150 W (switches on below - 20 °C on AC power)

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