What is the best solar tracker motor?

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Written By Charlotte Miller

What is a solar tracker?

Solar trackers are devices that keep solar panels pointed at the sun as it moves across the sky. This ensures that the solar panels are always receiving the maximum amount of sunlight possible, thus Solar panels can generate the most electricity. The transmission device in the solar tracking system is the key point in the design. So how to rotate the solar panel stably and efficiently? Normally engineers using dc gear motors on solar tracker systems to achieve these functions. However, engineers also have to choose a suitable solar tracker motor for their design based on different requirements.

What are the requirements for a solar tracker motor?

  1. The basic requirements for the motors are Voltage, Working speed, Working Current, and Output power. 
  2. According to the weight of the solar panel, gear motors may output torque from 10N.m up to 2000N.m based on the client’s specific demands. 
  3. Because solar trackers are used outside, considering the outdoor environment, the waterproof and anti-rust performance of the motor will greatly affect the life of the motor. IP54 and above waterproof rating is very important for solar motors
  4. We also need to understand about solar tracker motors is that they can help solar panels move in two different ways: horizontally (azimuth angle adjustment) and vertically (zenith angle adjustment). So the direction of the shaft for the motor is an important requirement.
  5. Gearbox type is also important. Most of solar tracker motors are using planetary gearbox. The advantages of planetary gearbox are high torque, high efficiency, small size, and long life.
  6. The solar motor needs to consider the control system of the motor. In order to improve the efficiency of the solar tracker, the tracking system of the motor is very critical.

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3 Most popular Solar Motors on Markets

1: DC motor with planetary gearbox.

The DC brush motor is the earliest choice in the solar motor market. The design of the DC motor is simple, the cost is low, and the driving method is easy. It is a cost-effective solar tracking motor. However, the control of the DC motor is complex and the life is short, and the output power is lower under the same volume. These reasons lead to the limitation of the DC motor in the solar energy market.

2:BLDC motor with planetary gearbox.

Long-life, high-power, easy-to-control brushless motors are the mainstream solar motors on the market. The brushless motor with no load at 3000-6000Rpm is the most suitable for solar tracker. In recent years, the brushless motor has developed rapidly in the solar energy market.

3:Stepper motor with planetary gearbox

The stepper motor has precise control and low cost, and was once favored by many engineers for the solar energy market. However, the stepper motor has low efficiency and slow speed increase, and is gradually replaced by brushless motor.

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Solar Market Expectations

The global solar tracker market was valued at USD 1.80 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.8% from 2020 to 2027 to reach USD 5.41 billion by 2027. Higher-level integral BLDC motor embedded intelligence allows a brushless motor to serve as the master controller and run programs in the case of network failures, such as re-establishing the tracker in a network outage. These motors may also utilize macro-like instructions that send simple trigger commands to start complex activities. In addition, diagnostic capabilities may be carried out over the network to report on motor status and health.

Doncen motor has focused on designing solar tracker motors in recent 5 years. We produced reliable DC planetary gear motor and BLDC planetary gear motor.