One of the typical methods for anchoring ground-mounted solar arrays has been to use a slab of concrete for the foundation. Helical piles are gaining popularity among designers and contractors, though, to provide solar array owners with a more stable installation. Helical piles provide some distinct advantages, so it is worth considering the use of helical piles as anchors for these solar arrays.
Benefits of Helical Piles
The first advantage of using helical piles to anchor a solar array is that they have the ability to prevent shifting in any direction, which is very important for sustaining the tilt angle at which the solar panels need to be oriented. Helical pile foundations offer this improved stability because they go deep into the soil. Concrete slabs built without helical piles are subject to the compaction and erosion of the soil on which they sit. Since the helical piles are sunk deep into the ground, they also offer better protection against the impact of wind shear on the structure.
Another major advantage of using helical piles is that it’s possible to calculate in detail how much support the array needs. Concrete slabs offer less predictable long-term load support, as the soil composition plays a larger role in foundation support than with helical piles. When you know exactly how much support is needed, you also know exactly how deep to sink your helical piles.
Helical piles are also relatively quick to install, and the installation is less dependent on the weather than the mixing, pouring, and curing of a concrete slab. If any kind of problem or issue arises during the installation of helical piles, the specific pile can be removed and re-installed in a short period of time. By contrast, any problem that occurs with a concrete slab foundation could call for all or part of it to be broken up, then completely removed, after which the entire process of mixing, pouring, and curing would have to be repeated.
A good fit
Helical piles are proving a great overall fit for solar array installation projects. And, in keeping with the eco-friendly intent of installing ground-mounted solar arrays, helical piles are better for the environment and less obtrusive than are concrete slabs.
Rely on Lassiter for Helical Drilling and Site Excavation
Helical piers and piles are needed for numerous residential and commercial applications to stabilize the foundation. Lassiter Excavating specializes in pier drilling for new and old foundations to stabilize structures. We have been serving contractors and property owners in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989. Give us a call at (925) 499-3112 for help with all drilling and excavating projects.