Load Cells for Renewable Energy Production and Testing

Load cells are a versatile and reliable tool that can be used to measure a variety of forces and pressures. They are an essential part of the production and testing of renewable energy sources, helping engineers ensure these systems are safe and efficient.

Renewable energy companies, component makers, equipment manufacturers, and labs use Interface precision measurement devices for all phases of renewable energy testing and production. Interface’s LowProfile load cells, load pins, multi-axis sensors, wireless telemetry solutions, Mini load cells, and our sensors designed for use in submersible environments and harsh conditions are products used in the renewable energy market.  Find more information about these products in our new Interface Renewable Energy Solutions marketplace.

The advancement in renewables utilizing force measurement solutions enables us to tap into the Earth’s natural resources while preserving them for future generations. This includes growing use cases in advancing capabilities for solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, geothermal systems, and bioenergy. This shift towards renewables reverberates across diverse industries, evident in the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and consumer products powered by the elements.

Currently, the top renewable energy sources in the world in terms of their current global installed capacity are hydropower, wind, solar and biomass. It is important to note that the ranking of these sources can change over time, as new technologies are developed, and more renewable energy projects are built.

Hydropower is the world’s largest renewable energy source. It is generated by the power of moving water, such as from rivers or waterfalls. Load cells measure the force of water flowing through a hydroelectric dam to control the flow of water. The information is used in the production and monitoring of the energy production. Load cells can also be used to measure the weight of the concrete used to build a hydroelectric dam and for assessing structural integrity. Check out our Hydropower Turbine Generator Monitoring App Note.

Wind power is the second largest renewable energy source. The energy is generated by the wind, which turns the blades of wind turbines to generate electricity. Wind power is a clean and renewable source of energy, and it is becoming increasingly cost-competitive. Load cells can be used to measure the torque and thrust of wind turbines to optimize the performance and ongoing operations. Load cells can also be used to measure the weight of the blades of wind turbines to make sure that the blades are strong enough to withstand the forces of wind depending on where the location.  Wind Turbine Bolt Monitoring provides an example of how our products are used in this type of energy production.

There are current programs around the world that are researching and development wind turbines that are located at sea. These offshore energy programs require force measurement solutions that are a submersible, ruggedized and wireless for use in energy production. Learn more by reviewing our Floating Wind Turbine Monitoring application note.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal are the third largest renewable and clean energy sources. Solar PV is generated by the sun’s light, which is converted into electricity by solar panels. Load cells can be used to measure the weight of solar panels to guarantee that the panels are properly supported and that they will not be damaged by wind or rain. Load cells can also be used to measure the force of the wind on solar panels to improve design and for ongoing element monitoring when in use. Get more details by reviewing Solar Panel Strength Testing.

Solar thermal is generated by the sun’s heat, which is used to heat water or air to generate steam or hot air, which can then be used to drive turbines to generate electricity. Load cells are used to measure the pressure and temperature of the water or air that is heated by the sun. Load cells can also be used to measure the weight of the solar collectors that are used to heat the water or air. Both use cases help in maintenance and to understand how to best protect the equipment from damage.

Biomass is the next largest renewable energy source and is generated by burning organic materials, such as wood, crops, or waste products. Biomass is a renewable source of energy, but it can also produce greenhouse gases. Measuring the energy production is critical. Load cells are vital in accurately measuring the weight of biomass fuel to safeguard against overloading the system. Load cells can also be used to measure the steam that is generated by burning biomass fuel. Interface Supports Renewable Energy Innovation details more examples.


Read Interface Solutions for Growing Green Energy to see additional product applications.

Renewable and clean energy are often used interchangeably. Some sources are considered both renewable and clean. Renewable energy sources are important for ensuring our long-term energy security through sustainability. Clean energy sources are important for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions which science notes can significantly reduce our carbon footprint and combat the detrimental effects of global warming. Interface provides solutions that are helping to develop and deliver both renewable and clean energy.

As the world increasingly embraces renewables, we take significant steps toward building a more resilient and environmentally responsible energy landscape. This not only benefits us today but also fosters a healthier planet for future generations to enjoy. At Interface, we are committed to supporting this sustainable journey and contributing to a brighter, cleaner future for all of earth’s inhabitants.


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Interface Supports Renewable Energy Innovation

Interface is a core test and measurement solutions partner to some of the largest energy production and equipment manufacturers in the world. We continue to provide sensor devices and instrumentation, including custom designed OEM solutions, for a range of energy applications used above ground, below ground and at sea.

As expansion of green and clean energy innovation rapidly grows, Interface finds our precision force and torque measurement products in high demand to use in producing new energy from wind, solar, hydrogen, geothermal, biomass and biofuels. If it is designed to create sustainable power, chances are Interface products play a part in the test, management, and monitoring of equipment used for renewable energy production.

The test and measurement sensors and instrumentation devices our energy sector customers use must be durable, high quality, rugged and provide the most accurate results possible even in harsh environments. If the equipment fails, our customers risk steep losses from lack of products, and potential exposure to safety hazards.

A renewable sources application that we are incredibly excited about for the ability to put our innovation to work and make an impact in the mass production, is in the production of hydrogen energy. Hydrogen fuel cells have been around for a long time; however, recent advancements in how we harness the power of hydrogen have led to a renaissance in its use. Interface has had the opportunity to provide robust and accurate products used to evaluate some of the infrastructure being built to harness this renewable power source.


Electrolyzer and Fuel Cell Tie Rod Monitoring for Hydrogen Production

Converting to renewable energy is one of the primary tools to address growing energy consumption, as well as addressing climate change. Storage of energy is critical to make renewables work, and hydrogen, or its derivatives are a promising way to store power. Electrolyzers convert power to hydrogen, and fuel cells convert the hydrogen back to electricity. They are both made by stacking multiple anode and cathode plates and a membrane between each, and tie-rods hold them in place.

A real-time fuel cell monitoring system needs to measure the tension of the tie rods to avoid costly preventive and unplanned maintenance shutdowns. Interface suggested installing LWHP Precision Load Washer Load Cells connected to WTS-AM-1E Wireless Strain Bridge Transmitter Modules, under the bolts of the tightened tie rods. The WTS-AM-1E’s were encased in a junction box enclosure. The LWHP’s measured the tension between the plates from the tie rods, and the real-time results were transmitted wirelessly from the WTS-AM-1E’s to the WTS-BS-6 Wireless Telemetry Dongle Base Station when connected to the customer’s computer. Interface’s load cell system successfully monitors the tie-rods tension in real time, thus preventing unnecessary costly preventive maintenance and unplanned shutdowns of the electrolyzer. This hydrogen fuel cell electrolyzer application note shows Interface base products. The actual application used customized column load cells and instrumentation. Contact Interface team for a customized solution designed to your exact specifications.

Renewable Energy Use Cases

Our moment and temperature compensated LowProfile load cells use proprietary alloy strain gages to provide the most accurate readings possible in the harshest environments, such as wind turbines. Interface has a special line of intrinsically safe solutions for harsh environments.

Our LowProfile load cells with loop-powered intrinsically safe amplified output are designed for use in hazardous locations. These load cells are specifically designed from Interface models by adding high resistance strain gages for low-current loop power and shielded internal amplifier for extra low emissions and minimal EMI susceptibility.

Interface’s S-Type Load Cell series provides a suitable force measurement sensor for applications in heavy industries where explosive dust and environment conditions. Our miniature load cells are found to measure alternate energy testing, such as hydropower equipment and solar testing. Tune in to Interface’s Superior S-Type Load Cells webinar to learn more about these special sensors.

Windmill Energy Blade Measuring

A customer wanted to improve the performance of a windmill by adjusting the blade pitch and measuring the torque generated as power ramps. Interface offered its T2 Ultra Precision Shaft Style Rotary Torque Transducer, which is coupled between windmill blade propeller and electric generator. Test torque data is logged into the customer’s data acquisition system (DAQ). Using this solution, the customer was able to use torque data to determine the optimal blade pitch for the windmill. The windmill will now generate more power and with less stress on the bearings. Read about this use case here.


Wave Energy Generator

A scientist sought to create electricity by using the energy that is generated by ocean waves and Interface was able to help provide an important sensor for the generator. As electricity is generated by ocean waves, an Interface load cell can measure tether line tension using a submersible 3200 Hermetically Sealed LowProfile® Precision Stainless Load Cell or ITCA Tension and Compression Load Cell. The mooring line was attached to the load cell base and the platform generator was connected to the load cell hub. This measured the forces that were generated by the ocean waves and data was later analyzed by the customer’s data acquisition system (DAQ). The scientist was able to use force data to adjust the tether line. Also, if tether line breaks free, the scientist is alerted immediately to reattach the tether line. Read more here.

Interface is a resolute partner to the energy sector. The opportunity to help enable renewable energy solutions is something that Interface has a committed interest. And these innovators turn to us because of our proven capabilities in the energy industry, as well as our products ability to deliver industry leading accuracy and reliability. To learn more about our work in energy, please visit go to

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