Aluminum extruded components are widely used in PV systems because of their rich properties. In a 2020 study by the World Bank, PV systems use 85% aluminum for their systems. Taber Extrusions offers a wide range of profiles and extrusion capabilities for your solar energy components:
Solar panel frames
The lightweight nature of aluminum ensures that the frames do not add unnecessary weight to the PV system. Additionally, the resistance to corrosion properties of aluminum enables the frames to withstand exposure to various weather conditions.
Mounting systems (racking and trackers)
Mounting systems, which secure solar panels to rooftops, ground installations, or other structures, use aluminum extrusions. One reason they are used is because of strong and adaptable frameworks that can be customized to fit different installation scenarios.
Heat sinks and dissipators
Solar panels can generate heat during operation, which can impact their efficiency. Aluminum’s high thermal conductivity makes it an excellent choice for creating heat sinks and dissipators, that help regulate the temperature of the solar panels and maintain their optimal performance.
Enclosures and junction boxes
Extruded aluminum is used to create enclosures and junction boxes that house electrical components within the PV system. They protect electrical and mechanical components from environmental factors and allow efficient heat dissipation.
Wind turbines or mills predominantly use other materials such as steel, copper, plastic, and wood. According to the USGS, wind energy uses about 2% aluminum in its production. However, in recent years, aluminum is catching on because of the properties that make it easy to work with and its proven economic benefits.
It outperforms all other metals in terms of corrosion resistance, making it exceptionally well-suited for maritime environments. It is particularly advantageous for offshore wind turbines, where the onslaught of waves, humidity, salty sea air, and storms can accelerate corrosion.
According to an article by alcirclebiz.com, while copper typically reigns supreme as the wiring material of choice, experts in the field of wind turbines are now exploring an alternative: aluminum. Aluminum wiring cost less compared to copper helping reduce project costs. It also weighs approximately 70% less than copper, rendering electrical cables crafted from aluminum not only lightweight but also easier to install.
A hydropower plant generates energy using the motion of water. The water is directed through a pipe, known as a penstock, where it exerts pressure on turbine blades. In turn, these blades are set into motion, causing the turbine to rotate and drive a generator, ultimately producing electricity. Because water causes corrosion to some metals, aluminum alloys are used to reduce cost and corrosion in components.
Here’s how aluminum and aluminum extrusion can be utilized in hydropower energy:
- Penstock structures
- Gates and valves
- Turbine components
- Intake structures
- Cooling and ventilation systems
- Control panels and electrical enclosures
- Support structures for hydro facilities
Green Buildings and Infrastructure