How solar plants follow the course of the sun
The sun has always provided life on earth with its warming power and light. Using this power to supply energy is not a new idea. Most people are familiar with solar and photovoltaic systems. However, only a few know that solar plants follow the course of the sun in the sky and can flexibly adjust their angle to the incoming light – and, how they manage to do so.
The fellowship of the red giant
A major challenge for solar energy is that the sun is not a fixed spot in the sky, but moves, as the earth revolves around it. Since we cannot change the sun’s course in the firmament, engineers had to find a way to make solar plants more dynamic in order to follow the sunlight and absorb the sun’s energy in the best possible way. In other words, the system and solar cells should be able to adjust their angle precisely and focus the sun’s rays optimally.
Slewing bearings and drive units for solar installations
We asked Fernando Alonso Velo, CEO thyssenkrupp rothe erde Spain S.A., how slewing bearings for solar and photovoltaic plants are prepared for different climates and environmental conditions: ” Our products, which are installed in solar and photovoltaic systems, must be able to withstand corrosion and temperature fluctuations on the one hand, because the systems are constantly exposed to wind and weather in outdoor locations. On the other hand, the components must ensure precise controllability of the adjustment angles of the solar panels. rothe erde® slewing bearings provide the necessary mobility within the system to achieve this.
Before a slewing bearing for solar plants is designed, we analyze all the data provided by the customer on the climatic conditions on site, such as temperature, humidity and wind conditions. In order to be able to work reliably under a wide range of conditions, the following options, among others, are available for our slewing bearings: various surface coatings, diverse sealing systems, and lubricants for low temperatures, for example.”
“Accurate tracking and precise controllability of the adjustment angles are particularly important. To ensure this, our engineers use special calculation programs to produce slewing bearings that are a perfect fit for the requirements of the respective system,” Fernando Alonso Velo explains to us.
The flexible adjustment angles are so important because they allow the panels of the system to be optimally aligned with the sun. With the aid of the slewing bearings from thyssenkrupp rothe erde, the mirrors can also be aligned in such a way that the sun’s rays are focused to make the best possible use of the sun’s power.
The components thus help maximize the potential of solar power plants and support a sustainable and resource-conserving energy supply. However, components from thyssenkrupp rothe erde are not only found in solar power plants but are also installed in other renewable energy systems – read more: Large-diameter bearings – a superlative test of strength