Printed Circuit Boards for the Energy Industry

Printed Circuit Boards for the Energy Industry

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Printed circuit boards are crucial to many machines and devices used in the energy industry. Like PCBs for other applications, PCBs for the renewable sector connect electronic components, allowing power and signals to flow to separate devices. As the energy industry develops more complicated machinery, these machines and devices must have high-quality PCBs backing them up and ensuring everything works as intended.

If you’re interested in renewable energy PCBs, take a moment to review some of their primary design considerations, challenges and applications.

Design Considerations for Renewable Energy PCBs

Design Considerations for Renewable Energy PCBs

If you’re interested in renewable energy PCBs, you’ll likely want to know some of the top design considerations going into creating effective ones. While these design considerations will change from application to application, some factors are universally important — such as reliability, size and material selection.

Learn more about these design considerations below.

  • Reliability: No matter what application you’re using a PCB for, the PCB should be reliable. Since renewable energy PCBs play a vital role in delivering clean energy to people’s homes and devices, you can’t afford for them to fail or provide inadequate performance. As you design your PCB, you should ensure it will deliver reliable performance for a long time.
  • Size: PCBs for renewable energy applications need to be in an appropriate size. For example, solar power PCBs are often smaller, since they’ll also have a battery installed for times when the sun isn’t providing energy to the solar panel. Generally, you’ll want to look for a PCB in the smallest size possible, as a more compact size allows more space for other electronic components.
  • Material selection: When designing a renewable energy PCB, you likely want to ensure any materials you use aren’t harmful to the environment. For example, many renewable energy PCBs feature lead-free assemblies to minimize their environmental impact. Since PCBs must work well in an intended operating environment, they also need materials able to handle whatever high-powered applications the PCB will be facilitating.

Challenges of Designing PCBs for the Renewable Energy Industry

Whenever you design a PCB, you’ll have a few challenges to deal with. These include selecting the correct materials, ensuring your PCBs have sufficient power management and choosing those with proper signal integrity. Find out more about these primary challenges below.

  • Power management: A renewable energy PCB must properly distribute high-powered loads to various recipients. Since it can be challenging to design a PCB with these capabilities, an experienced PCB designer will likely need to assist with the PCB’s creation.
  • Signal integrity: When a PCB is in a high-noise and high-power environment, it can struggle to maintain its signal integrity. Since the renewable energy industry often requires PCBs to operate in these environments, their design must maintain signal integrity.
  • Materials: Finding the correct materials for your renewable energy PCBs can also be a challenge, especially when you want to ensure they’re not harmful to the environment. PCBs also require you have materials that work seamlessly in their intended operating environment. Alongside picking the right materials, you’ll also want to ensure any electronic components you select are compatible with high-power circuits.

PCB Applications in the Renewable Energy Industry

The renewable energy industry relies on machines for power generation featuring complicated electronics. PCBs help these machines perform at their best, managing their processes and loads while dispersing power effectively to multiple devices. Since renewable energy is the future of energy generation, solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal machinery must use PCBs that can keep up with new demands and help these machines provide a dependable power source.

Some of PCBs’ primary applications in the renewable energy industry include the following.

  • Hydropower: Hydropower PCBs regularly assist the renewable energy industry. While you might envision dams and huge plants when you think of hydropower, micro-hydropower systems are making their way into the consumer market, allowing anyone with a creek or stream to use these systems to generate energy. PCBs play a role in many hydropower components, helping hydropower systems give you the most energy possible, whether you have a small system or a larger one.
  • Solar: As more people switch to solar power for their homes, the demand for solar power PCBs is increasing. Solar panel array manufacturers regularly turn to high-current and heavy copper PCBs for their panels, as these boards better manage loads and keep panels safe.
  • Wind: Companies in the wind energy sector also use heavy copper PCBs to ensure safe and high-performing energy management. As windmills become more prevalent, you can expect to see companies using heavy copper wind power PCBs to assist with energy power generation and storage.
  • Geothermal: Geothermal power PCBs must withstand high temperatures and other environmental pressures. As a result, companies often outfit geothermal machines with metal core boards. These PCBs excel at dispersing heat and are very durable, making them a popular choice for geothermal applications.

Renewable Energy PCB Types and Our Capabilities

At Millennium Circuits Limited, we’re ready to provide you with PCBs perfectly suited for various renewable energy PCB applications. Review some of our capabilities and main PCB types for renewable energy applications below.

  • Thick copper PCBs: As discussed previously, heavy copper PCBs are perfect for many renewable energy applications, such as wind and solar devices. We regularly provide these PCBs to our clients in the renewable energy sector, as they’re well suited to handle high rates of current, provide strong connection points and resist hot temperatures for a long time.
  • High-density interconnect and multilayer PCBs: Many renewable energy machines and devices need increasingly smaller PCBs to accommodate other electrical components. Due to this need for small PCBs, we produce lightweight HDI PCBs that still deliver excellent performance. Many of our clients also enjoy our multilayer PCBs, as these boards allow a client to have a more complex design, greater flexibility and significant space savings.
  • Rigid-flex PCBs:Rigid-flex PCBs combine the best of rigid boards and flex boards. These boards give you a rigid PCB’s durability and a flex PCB’s adaptability, providing a great deal of versatility for various renewable energy applications.
  • Surface-mount technology: Many renewable energy machines and devices use PCBs featuring small and sensitive electronic components that are often challenging to install without damaging them. At MCL, we rely on surface-mount technology to ensure we can place these components in a PCB without damaging them. As a result, our clients receive reliable performance from our PCBs, and they don’t have to worry about investing in a PCB that doesn’t work.

Turn to MCL for Renewable Energy PCBs

Turn to MCL for Renewable Energy PCBs

Whether you need a hydropower or solar PCB, Millennium Circuits Limited can deliver a PCB perfectly designed for your needs. If you’re ready to receive the best PCB for your renewable energy machinery, take a moment to request a quick quote. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.