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Everything You Need to Know About Axial Flow Motors in 2024

Solar monitoring equipment

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by the end of 2022 the installed capacity of the global solar industry exceeded 1,183 GW, and last year, the new installed capacity of global photovoltaic reached 235.8GW.

In order to better harness solar energy resources, a range of new technologies have been developed. Solar tracking systems are one of these technologies, and their purpose is to optimize the use of sunlight, thereby improving the photoelectric conversion efficiency. In solar tracking systems, the axial flow motor is a commonly used drive device. Its main role is to drive the solar panel to follow the movement of the sun, to ensure that the sun can be irradiated to the solar panel in the most efficient way, and to actively “chase” the sun to get the maximum power generation.

This guide offers retailers an overview of the market for axial flow motors, as well as outlining their future potential.

Table of Contents
Axial flow motors for solar tracking systems
Classification of axial flow motors
Market size and prospects
Existing problems
Research status
Some suggestions for buyers
The bottom line

Axial flow motors for solar tracking systems

the solar panel

A general rotary motor can be either an inner rotor type or an outer rotor type. However, no matter which type, the magnetic flux is in the direction of the radius. In contrast, a motor with a magnetic flux that is parallel to the axis of rotation is an axial flow motor.

In solar tracking systems, axial flow motors are often used to drive the tracking device, allowing the solar panel to adjust its own angle in real time according to the position of the sun. In this way, no matter the sun’s position, the solar panel can always maintain the best angle with the sun, thus maximizing the absorption of sunlight and improving the efficiency of photoelectric conversion.

Classification of axial flow motors

Axial motors in solar tracking systems can be divided into a range of types. This table gives a breakdown of the classification of the main types on the market:

By motor type  AC axial flow motorsIn the early stage of the development of solar equipment, AC induction motors were applied to solar tracking systems on a large scale. AC motor drive voltage is 220V. This voltage can draw energy directly from the grid without the need for additional batteries. Also, the AC motor, especially in the start-up phase, can provide a large torque, which helps to overcome the initial friction that the solar tracking system may encounter when starting, ensuring that the motor can start smoothly and adjust the angle of the panel.        
          Permanent magnet DC motorsCheap and efficient permanent magnet DC motors are more and more widely used in solar tracking motors. Not only are they capable of delivering high torque at low pressures, but they also produce lower electromagnetic interference and are more energy efficient, providing sustainable energy solutions for energy use. However, the carbon brush life of PMDC motors can be between 1000 hours and 3000 hours, resulting in traditional PMDC motors only having 3000-5000 hours of operating time, limiting the motor life.   
By drive mode                Stepper motorsStepper motors are controlled by a pulse signal. The step angle of the stepper motor rotation is generated by the proportional control on the basis of the motor structure. If the subdivision control of the control circuit is unchanged, then the step angle of the step rotation is theoretically a fixed angle. Therefore, the accuracy of the stepper motor is high, and the position and speed of the tracking system can be accurately controlled. In addition, the low noise makes it suitable for quiet environments. Finally, the life of the stepper motor is long, because its structure is simple and it is convenient to maintain.        
            Asynchronous motors Also known as an induction motor, this is an AC motor that generates electromagnetic torque from the interaction between the air gap rotating magnetic field and the induction current of the rotor winding, so as to realize the conversion of electromechanical energy into mechanical energy. Driven directly by AC power, the operation cost is low, but due to the characteristics of the inductive electromagnetic field, the control accuracy of asynchronous motors is relatively low. 
By the level of protectionIP65/ IP66 motorsThe protection level of these motors is usually expressed by the IP (Ingress Protection) code, which is the identification of the sealing level of the motor housing. The IP65 motor provides a high degree of protection against the direct contact of solid objects and a certain degree of protection against water jets. The IP66 provides a high degree of protection against direct contact with solid objects and a certain degree of protection against strong water spraying.

Motor IP protection level table (corresponding to IPXX)

Market size and prospects

In recent years, China’s solar tracking system industry has developed rapidly. According to the analysis of China’s solar tracking system industry, published by market research online, from 2015 to 2018, the market size of China’s solar tracking system industry grew from 18.62 billion yuan to 40.41 billion yuan, an increase of nearly 117%. Nevertheless, the market outlook for axial flow motors in solar tracking systems is still influenced by several factors.

The following are some of the key factors that are likely to affect the prospects of axial flow motors in the solar tracking system market:

  • Growth in the solar tracking system industry: The solar industry is expected to continue to grow as the global demand for renewable energy and green energy solutions increases. According to statistics, the solar tracker market size is estimated to be valued at USD 36.62 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach USD 100.51 billion by 2029, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.38% during the forecast period (2024-2029). This will directly affect the demand for solar tracking components, including axial flow motors.
  • Energy prices: Volatility in energy prices, especially rising fossil fuel prices, may increase the attractiveness of solar power generation, which in turn improves the market prospects for axial flow motors.
  • Policy support and subsidies: Government subsidies and policy support for renewable energy are likely to stimulate the installation of solar tracking systems, thereby increasing the demand for axial flow motors. For example, to further promote the solar industry, The U.S. Department of Energy contributed US 15 million to help families, businesses and communities develop solar projects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also announced its Green Energy Partnership commitment to double the use of renewable energy, including solar power, within a decade.
  • Environmental regulations and carbon emission reduction targets: The global focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is likely to lead to more investment in clean energy technologies such as solar energy, which will contribute to the market development of axial flow motors.

Existing problems

  1. High initial costs: The installation of axial flow motors requires a high initial investment, and it is also followed by high maintenance costs. However, it does ensure better performance as well as reducing the cost of the entire solar tracking system, improving its market competitiveness.
  2. Low energy efficiency: Compared with other types of motors, axial flow motors may have a lower energy efficiency ratio under certain conditions. For example, in the case of low load, frequent start-ups, grid voltage instability, and motor aging, axial flow motors may have a certain amount of energy loss in the process of converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.
  3. Noise problems: Axial flow motors may produce a certain amount of noise during operation, which may be a problem for noise-sensitive application environments (such as residential areas, nature reserves, etc.).

Research status

The application of axial flow motors in solar tracking systems is an interdisciplinary research field that involves many disciplines such as electrical engineering, control theory and solar energy technology. As of 2023, the research status of axial flow motors in solar tracking systems can be summarized as follows:

Energy efficiency optimization

Researchers have been looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of axial flow motors in solar tracking systems. This includes optimizing motor design, such as using efficient permanent magnet materials, improving cooling systems to reduce heat loss, and adopting more efficient drive and control strategies

Control systems

Control strategies are critical to ensure that axial flow motors operate at maximum efficiency when tracking the sun. Researchers have developed a variety of advanced control algorithms, such as fuzzy control, PID control, adaptive control, etc., to improve the motor response speed and accuracy.

Intelligent monitoring and maintenance

With the development of the Internet of Things and big data technologies, researchers are exploring how axial flow motors can be integrated with other intelligent systems to enable real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance, thereby reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Some suggestions for buyers

Performance requirements

Determine the performance requirements of your solar tracking system for axial flow motors, including power, speed, torque, and efficiency.

Environmental adaptability

Consider the environmental conditions in which the motor will be deployed, such as temperature, humidity, dust, and corrosion, and choose a motor that can adapt to these environments.


Evaluate motor prices offered by different suppliers and conduct cost-effectiveness analysis to ensure that cost-effective products are selected.

Control & interface

Consider the complexity of motor control and interface compatibility, and choose a motor that is easy to integrate into your solar tracking system.

Certification and standards

Check whether the motor complies with relevant industry standards and certifications, such as CE certification, UL certification, etc., to ensure the quality and safety of the motor.

The bottom line

Axial flow motors are a valuable component of solar tracking systems, as they help improve the overall efficiency of solar systems. It is no surprise then that the market for these motors is set to increase, and this offers an opportunity for buyers to capitalize on this growth. For more updates on key solar trends, remember to follow Alibaba.com blog.

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