Minalex Extrusions Are Helping to “Farm” the Sun’s Energy

Solar farms have become familiar sites on the landscape. They use photovoltaic (PV) panels or other means of collecting solar energy to harness the sun’s power. These farms are also known by other names such as ‘solar parks,’ ‘solar plants’ and ‘solar power stations.’ Just a small blip on the radar a decade ago, solar farms big and small are booming. Solar farms are large-scale, ground-mounted solar installations. Currently, the biggest solar farms in the U.S. can be found in the southwest.

To extract maximum energy from the sun’s rays, these solar farms employ solar trackers on the panels which allow them to follow the sun’s path. Typically, solar tracking equipment is connected to the racking of the solar panels. There are primarily two types of solar tracking systems: single-axis and dual-axis.

Aluminum extrusions play an important role in the operation of solar panels and trackers. Aluminum is the ideal choice because it’s lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and durable. 100% recyclability is another key factor that contributes to its reputation as a proven performer. Its inherent design flexibility makes it well suited to an endless number of configurations and profiles, especially when compared to other materials like plastics or stainless steel.

In a single-axis tracking system, solar panels rotate around a single axis, typically aligned in a north-south direction. This axis can either be horizontal or tilted. The system is equipped with sensors, usually photodiodes or light sensors, to detect the position of the sun relative to the solar panel. These sensors continuously monitor the sunlight intensity and direction. Throughout the day, as the sun moves across the sky, the tracking system continuously adjusts the solar panel’s position to ensure it remains perpendicular to the incoming sunlight. This maximizes the panel’s exposure to sunlight, optimizing energy generation.

In addition to rotating around a horizontal axis, dual-axis tracking systems can also adjust the solar panel’s tilt along a vertical axis. This allows the panel to track the sun’s elevation angle throughout the day. Dual-axis tracking provides even greater precision in aligning the solar panel with the sun’s position compared to single-axis tracking. By adjusting vertical and horizontal elevation angles, dual-axis systems can capture more sunlight, which is especially beneficial during seasons when the sun is at a lower angle.

Minalex miniature aluminum extrusions can now be found on trackers at one of the massive solar farms out west. The clips we produced – in the tens of thousands – follow the changing path of the sun and extract maximum energy from sunup to sundown.

Whether it’s used for solar panel trackers, frame construction, mounting systems, or a thousand other applications, Minalex is the first choice for outstanding quality products manufactured to the highest tolerances for the energy industry.

For specifications, price quotes, and lead time information on custom aluminum extrusions for energy applications, call us at (908) 534-4044, or simply click here.

 


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Specifications

We extrude and supply aluminum profiles up to 3.500 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter. Our aluminum extrusions can have tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001" on one or more dimensions of an extrusion, depending on the shape.

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Alloys

Minalex alloys are sourced in North America and feature a number of series, including alloy 1100, 3003, 6063, 6463 and 6061.

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Capabilities

Our capabilities include Lbs/Ft <= 1.500, kg/m <= 2.2322; Sections >= 0.003 in, >= 0.076 mm; and circle size, <= 3.500 in. <= 8.890 cm.

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Get The Guide To Rapid Prototyping With Aluminum Extrusions

Prototyping - The Aluminum Advantage

Guide Includes:

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