Worm gearboxes for solar tracking systems

28 June 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201915086

Electrical & Electronics
Green Industries & Renewable Energy
Power Generation

BMG has extended the supply of Varvel gearboxes and variators for small and medium power applications, to include customised worm gearboxes for installation in photovoltaic (PV) solar tracking systems.

“As part of BMG’s commitment to providing alternative energy sources with reduced impact on the environment, the company works in conjunction with Varvel specialists and South African PV component manufacturers, to design sustainable solutions for specific applications for local conditions,” said Kelly Mac Iver, Gears Business Unit Manager, BMG’s ElectroMechanical division.

“Through close collaboration, BMG, Varvel and South African solar tracking manufacturers, PiA Solar SA, have re-designed mechanical driving components for solar tracking systems, to enhance cost efficiency, increase installation speed and optimise the performance of every PV tracking installation.

Worm gearboxes for solar tracking systems

“Customised Varvel worm gearboxes - designed to minimise efficiency losses associated with the energy conversion process - are incorporated in PiA Solar’s ContouR+ single-axis trackers. These compact gearboxes, which are maintenance-free and sealed for the life of the unit, maximise efficiency by ensuring solar panels are always in the optimal position to track the sun,” he said.

The PiA Solar tracker solution consists of a horizontal single-axis tracker (HSAT) that is capable of contour tracking the sun, both along and between rows of solar panels (up to 60 modules per row and 32 rows wide).

The modular design requires no cutting, drilling or welding on-site and forms a mass-balanced system, reducing wear and self-consumption of the PV plant. The spring structure eliminates deviations in tilt within the rows, reduces peak power requirements of the electrical push-pull drive system that provides a constant tension drive beam and also protects against oscillation of the system at low tilts.

BMG’s lightweight Varvel worm gearboxes are installed on solar panels to ensure that they are constantly in an optimal position to be able to effectively track the sun.

According to Mac Iver, these gearboxes have numerous advantages for PV installations, including an ingress protection rating of IP66 - certified by specialist laboratories, to guarantee resistance to dust and water. Other significant features include a high ratio of 1 120:1 and the non-back driveability design for locking the solar panels in place, to resist external forces from moving the panels off their stopped position.

The Varvel range, which is designed for flexibility and interchangeability with other leading gearboxes, as well as easy mounting and quick lead times, enables BMG to offer customised power transmission solutions to users of gearboxes in diverse sectors.

Apart from PV applications, Varvel gearboxes and variators are used for pumps, mixers, conveyors and cranes, scrapers, screw feeders, apron feeders, automotive equipment, lifting control and pipe processing. What’s important is that each Varvel system can be custom designed for specific requirements.

BMG - exclusive distributors for the Varvel Group in sub-Saharan Africa for over 40 years – also offers a technical advisory and support service for contractors, designers and the end-user.

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