Electric Linear Actuators Application in Solar Energy Field
Electric Linear Actuators Application in Solar Energy Field

Electric Linear Actuators Application in Solar Energy Field

As our planet’s natural resources are slowly reaching their limits, more and more countries and companies are starting to invest in renewable energy sources. The most promising and pervasive one is solar energy.

In 2017, its contribution to overall energy production exceeded 2%. Although this doesn’t seem enough to cover all our needs, it marks an impressive trend in its advancement. Over the years, the solar energy share has grown almost exponentially, and with the development of new energy conversion and storage technologies, it continues to evolve.

Electric actuators have been instrumental to the solar panels’ success. They help increase the overall effectiveness of the system and maximize the time of sunlight intake. Let’s take a closer look at why it is important and how exactly the actuators are used.

Solar Panels Shortcomings and Disadvantages

Even with the latest breakthroughs in the use of semiconductors and organic dyes in solar energy, the highest efficiency of solar panels is relatively low. Besides being limited by the laws of physics, the low efficiency (and lower utility) can be attributed to a number of factors, among which are:

  • Energy loss due to heat emission.

    • The fact that the energy produced depends on the light intensity, so it needs a support system to be usable.

      • Dependence on weather conditions and the time of day.

        Although the advantages (namely the low cost and the environmental friendliness) greatly outweigh these disadvantages, they are still very limiting and, frankly, annoying. Thanks to the use of electric linear actuators, the impact of some of them can be reduced.

        How Can Linear Actuators Help?

        Electric linear actuators are not the newest discovery in engineering. However, their steady cost decrease has resulted in interest and subsequent spreading in the solar industry. So, how can linear actuators improve solar panels?

        First of all, linear actuators can be used to control the angle of the solar rays relative to the panel. Throughout the day, the intensity of the sunlight changes because of the sun’s position in the sky changing. The control of the panel’s angle allows making this intensity constant. Additionally, it can be used to maximize the illuminated surface depending on the cloud movement.

        Secondly, linear actuators reduce the effective area solar panels take up. With their help, you can apply them in your everyday life even more efficiently, reducing the overall cost of your energy consumption. If you don’t use solar panels, now is the best time to start!

        Which Actuator is Right for You?

        The overall force and stroke your actuator needs to have depended on the size of your panel and the weather conditions you live in. In most cases, 2,000-pound force and around 20-inch stroke should be enough. Make sure the actuator you choose can be trusted in tough weather conditions and during long exposure to moisture and other destructive factors.

        If you’re not well-versed in the industry, it could be very difficult for you to determine an electric actuator model that would be perfect for your system. If that’s the case, reach out to us – we have the experience needed, and we’re ready to help you.

        Anna Sapiga

        AZ Engineer