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Actuators for elevation and azimuth solar tracking

22 July 2011

New from the Techdrives division of Lenze are two ranges of actuators manufactured by linear motion specialist Servomech, which are optimised specifically for the solar tracking of photovoltaic installations. They deliver high loads at low speeds and have high protection against hostile environments to the extent where a 10 year warranty is offered. These linear actuators are already in use worldwide for installations with surface areas from 12 to 300m².

These actuators allows easy customisation to the particular requirements of the installation with speeds up to 7mm/s, strokes up to 1500mm and forces to 100kN.

The Servomech solar tracking actuators are adapted for a long trouble-free life in outdoor environments. Corrosion-free materials are used such as the chromed push rod, and UV resistant bellows that protect the screw from rain and dust. Installation is made easy with a pivetting trunnion mounting that is set close to the push rod end, so helping with rigidity. Stroke end limit switches are included.

Motors can be dc but are more usually ac 3-phase in a typical range 0.18 to 1.5kW. Feedback for control purposes is either from a motor-mounted incremental encoder or a rotary potentiometer. Customers can specify a step up in motor power to cope with high wind loads on the solar panels.
The use of actuators to align solar arrays to the moving track of the sun gives a big boost to efficiency and reduces payback times. Servomech linear actuators are marketed in the UK by Techdrives and the full range of actuators and screw jacks are shown on the website.  A specific flyer on solar tracking actuators is available on request or as a download.

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