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ZM Ecoprotect® Solar – effective corrosion protection for economical and resilient PV mounting systems

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar – effective corrosion protection for economical and resilient PV mounting systems

Robust arguments for system manufacturers, profilers, and PV plant operators

Reliable PV mounting systems require durable, robust, sustainable materials. This is why professionals rely on ZM Ecoprotect® Solar: Our high-quality zinc-magnesium coated steels for effectively protecting high-performance stud framing from corrosion.

Incidentally, ZM Ecoprotect® Solar is also available in bluemint® Steel – to significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar: The steel for PV substructures

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar – effective corrosion protection for economical and resilient PV mounting systems
ZM Ecoprotect® Solar – for a robust PV mounting system made of high-quality steel with high-performance corrosion protection.

Your solar farm needs to generate green energy both economically and sustainably. To do so, it requires a robust supporting structure made from high-quality steel with effective corrosion protection. With ZM Ecoprotect® Solar, thyssenkrupp Steel now offering high-performance, zinc-magnesium-coated steels for PV mounting systems – durable, robust and sustainable.

You can bank on ZM Ecoprotect® Solar: Our zinc-magnesium coated steels for effectively protecting of high-performance PV mounting systems from corrosion

Durable corrosion protection for mounting structures of solar installations

In order to advance the energy turnaround in Europe in a decisive way, significantly more photovoltaic capacity will have to be installed over the coming years than has been the case to date. Solar systems usually last for 20 to 25 years. Given these long operating times, high-performance steel substructures are required in particular for the solar modules of photovoltaic ground-mounted systems.

With ZM Ecoprotect® Solar, thyssenkrupp Steel is now offering a zinc-magnesium-based corrosion protection solution that is significantly more effective than conventional hot dip galvanizing, and can withstand almost anything that the weather can throw at it.

We know what exacting demands our customers have in terms of service life and workmanship in the construction of PV mounting systems, and we offer a corresponding portfolio of grades with high-quality ZM coating – depending on the corrosion stresses with a 25-year guarantee against rust penetration.

Arne Schreiber, Product Management Industry, thyssenkrupp Steel

Proven standard

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar is a further development of the tried-and-tested ZM Ecoprotect® zinc-magnesium coating, which has already proven itself in the construction industry for decades.

Your contacts when it comes to high-performance corrosion protection for solar mounting structures: Arne Schreiber, Product Management and Jennifer Schulz, Surface Development.
Your contacts when it comes to high-performance corrosion protection for solar mounting structures: Arne Schreiber, Product Management and Jennifer Schulz, Surface Development.

Resistant to corrosion

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar offers several advantages compared to pure zinc coatings. Thanks to the addition of magnesium, the application thickness can be significantly reduced compared to conventional zinc coatings, while offering equivalent corrosion protection and even higher-quality protection at cut edges and drilled holes.

This is possible because ZM Ecoprotect® Solar forms a particularly resistant and durable protective layer on the steel surface, thus protecting the steel in corrosive atmospheres. As a result, the new coating is ideal for steel fabrications in outdoor applications.

The new ZM coating will appeal to customers with its excellent processing properties. ZM-coated steels are excellently formable and particularly suitable for roll forming. Their surface is harder than that of zinc coatings, which means significantly less abrasion is generated in the die, and this in turn reduces wear on the forming dies.

Jennifer Schulz, Product Development Surfaces, thyssenkrupp Steel

Tried-and-tested quality for steel structures

The excellent properties of the coating are confirmed by the building regulations approval from the German Institute for Construction Technology (DIBt) and tests by the Karlsruhe Technologies Institute (KTI). For this purpose, an alternate climate test – among other procedures – was carried out on the coated steels to demonstrate the good corrosion resistance of the coatings.

Durable, robust and sustainable steels for high-performance steel structures.
Durable, robust and sustainable steels for high-performance steel structures.

Guaranteed service life for steel frames made of profiles

All scenarios for the expansion of photovoltaics point to an enormous demand for steel in Europe. With ZM Ecoprotect® Solar, we are responding to the needs of an attractive and, above all, sustainable market trend in the field of renewable energies. Consequently, we are supporting emission-free power generation using photovoltaics.

The new coating is the consistent economic further development as an alternative to batch galvanizing. The guaranteed service life of up to 25 years also leads to low maintenance expenditure on the PV ground-mounted systems.

With ZM Ecoprotect® Solar, we are clearly offering extra sustainability. It conserves resources through reduced use of zinc, it is 100 percent recyclable, and the entire portfolio is also available as bluemint® Steel – our high-quality flat steel with reduced CO2 intensity and the same excellent material and processing properties.

Jörg Paffrath, Senior Vice President Sales Industry, thyssenkrupp Steel

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar – sustainable corrosion protection

  • Husbanding of zinc resources by cutting down the use of zinc
  • 100% recyclable
  • And for a clear CO2 saving also available as bluemint® Steel

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar: Available steel grades, coatings and dimensions for solar applications

Hot-dip coated structural steel
DIN EN 10346

Dimensions
Steel grade designation
­
­
Coatings
in g/m2
Thickness1
from _ to in mm
Width1
from _ to in mm
S220GD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S250GD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S280GD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S320GD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S350GD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S390GD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,530
S420GD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.60 – 3.00 900 – 1,250
S450GD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 On request On request
S550GD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 On request On request
1. Not all thickness and width combinations possible. | 2. Coating on request. | Outlook: Expanded range of dimensions available from March 2024.

Mild steel
DIN EN 10346

Dimensions
Steel grade designation
­
­
Coatings
in g/m2
Thickness1
from _ to in mm
Width1
from _ to in mm
DX51D ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 4.00 900 – 1,600
DX52D ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 4.00 900 – 1,600
DX53D ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 4.00 900 – 1,600
DX54D ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 4.00 900 – 1,600
DX56D ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 4.00 900 – 1,600
1. Not all thickness and width combinations possible. | 2. Coating on request. | Outlook: Expanded range of dimensions available from March 2024.

Micro-alloyed steel
DIN EN 10346

Dimensions
Steel grade designation
­
­
Coatings
in g/m2
Thickness1
from _ to in mm
Witdh1
from _ to in mm
HX260LAD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 3.00 900 – 1,600
HX300LAD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 3.00 900 – 1,600
HX340LAD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 3.00 900 – 1,600
HX380LAD
ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 3.00 900 – 1,600
HX420LAD ZM310, ZM4302, ZM6202 0.40 – 3.00 900 – 1,600
1. Not all thickness and width combinations possible. | 2. Coating on request. | Outlook: Expanded range of dimensions available from March 2024.

Agrivoltaics: Bright prospects for special coatings

With the planned expansion of solar energy, material suppliers to the industry are facing additional challenges. Consequently, thyssenkrupp Steel is developing new coating systems for integrated photovoltaic (PV) installations in agriculture based on ZM Ecoprotect® Solar.

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar coatings for Agri-PV mounting systems
Great development potential: Agri-PV is about equipping agricultural land with PV systems that do not restrict agricultural management.

The solar package adopted by the German government in August 2023 will give photovoltaics in Germany an additional boost. "We need to triple the pace and succeed in adding 22 gigawatts annually by 2026 to meet our expansion targets," said German Economics Minister Robert Habeck in a press release issued along with the decision. Based on 2022, an additional capacity of only 7.5 gigawatts has been installed, which is not nearly enough to build the total planned capacity of 215 gigawatts of photovoltaics in Germany by 2030.

Significant funding for agrivoltaics

Capacities must be built up, especially in the free-field sector, in order for new solar installations to be connected to the grid on the desired scale. Experts see great development potential in what is called agrivoltaics. This involves installing PV systems on agricultural land in a way that does not restrict its agricultural use. A good example of this are pastures for cattle or poultry farming which are spanned by PV mounting structures. Similar concepts exist for fruit and vegetable cultivation; indeed, PV systems even add value here since they offer protection against extreme weather conditions such as hail. The plan is for these and similar approaches to be promoted more strongly in the future through the German government's initiative. Robert Habeck: "A key focus of the package is to provide land for solar parks in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, so that agricultural land is used twice over with agrivoltaics – for agriculture and for power generation.

Partners of the suppliers

The challenge: because the materials of the mounting systems are exposed to extreme weather conditions in the open air, it must be ensured that no metal particles will get into the soil due to corrosion processes. As a partner of the energy sector with great expertise in materials, thyssenkrupp Steel is actively addressing these new requirements. The advantage: with ZM Ecoprotect® Solar, the manufacturer already has a suitable basic product. The coating is already being used today for robust solar mounting racks and, with its zinc-magnesium-based corrosion protection, is ideal for use in outdoor areas.

The König company from Moringen has already had good experience with ZM Ecoprotect® Solar. As a producer of special profiles, the company's product range includes high-quality components for solar mounting racks. Managing director Meiko Fiedler appreciates that thyssenkrupp is involved in the process in a variety of ways: "Not only do we get the material we need for manufacturing, but we also receive expert consulting services for the required material specifications and corrosion protection. This is very important in lightweight construction because, aside from efficiency, it goes without saying that we need high rigidity and durability in the design at all times." Fiedler also appreciates the possibility of being able to source CO2-neutral steel grades in the future. "Sustainability is increasingly important for us and our customers – especially when it comes to renewable energies. With bluemint® Steel, thyssenkrupp is providing us with a suitable solution for the future."

ZM Ecoprotect® Solar is already being used today for robust solar mounting racks and, with its corrosion protection, is suitable for use in outdoor areas.
ZM Ecoprotect® Solar is already being used today for robust solar mounting racks and, with its corrosion protection, is suitable for use in outdoor areas.

Intensive research work

Sustainability and ecological compatibility are also relevant to agrivoltaics in other ways. Jennifer Schulz, development engineer at thyssenkrupp Steel: "Depending on the area of application, the location of the mounting rack and the nature of the soil, it is necessary to adapt the coatings and subsequent treatments, such as passivations. For example, because no heavy metal such as chromium is allowed to be present." Against this background, thyssenkrupp Steel is also benefiting from the investments in its own production network. "The new hot-dip galvanizing line (FBA) 6 with its state-of-the-art coater affords us the opportunity of testing novel chrome-free pre- and post-treatments efficiently. This means we can successfully respond to the specific requirements of new markets," Schulz added. The option of coating thicker sheets or higher-strength steels in the FBA 6 also gives the manufacturer more scope for developing innovative products in the future.

thyssenkrupp Steel is supporting the various development approaches to the topic of agrivoltaics through intensive studies in the company's own corrosion laboratories. thyssenkrupp Steel has engaged external partners and institutes, such as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), to carry out additional test series. Individual material properties are also repeatedly tested. The most recent example concerns how coatings made of ZM Ecoprotect® Solar behave in soils and whether they are resistant to a range of pH values. "Such tests and corresponding validations are important so that farmers know whether they can stick to proven fertilizers despite the steel profiles being anchored in the ground," explains Arne Schreiber from thyssenkrupp Steel's Industry Product Management.

Concept is picking up speed

Solar providers and their material suppliers still have a lot of convincing to do to make the dual use of land for agriculture and energy production more popular. To date, agrivoltaics accounts for just one percent of free-field solar installations. "However, the topic was already widely known and talked about among those attending industry events such as the leading trade fair Intersolar. And we notice how the importance is increasing elsewhere too. This will be an important building block for the energy turnaround," Arne Schreiber is certain. "That's why we're already paying a lot of attention to the issue."

General inquiry

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Contact

thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse 100

47166 Duisburg, Germany

+49 (0)203 52-0

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