Abstract In this work, a new active sun tracker for solar streetlight combined with photoelectric tracking mode mainly and time-based tracking mode auxiliary was proposed. The sun tracker was designed through three aspects: mechanical structure, electrical system and control procedure. Then, a proper model named Available Energy Absorption Model was built to study the energy efficiency. The numerical average value of energy efficiency in a year is 36% which shows the superiority of the tracking mode on the available energy absorption. Lastly, the mechanical properties analysis of the tracker was implemented on two aspects which include motion simulation and wind resistance. The numerical results prove the feasibility of the double-slider mechanism and the reliability of the tracker’s strength.