WHY GROUND SCREWS MAKE GREAT SOLAR ARRAY FOUNDATIONS

We all know that ground screws make great sustainable foundations for garden rooms and other buildings, but did you know that ground screws are a great alternative to concrete foundations for ground mounted solar arrays too? There are a huge number of benefits to replacing concrete foundations with a ground screw system, the most obvious being their reduced impact on the environment when compared to concrete.

We’ve previously discussed how ground screws fit into sustainable construction, for renewable energy providers and those looking to generate their electricity in a more sustainable manner, keeping their carbon impact low is an important consideration. But, a reduced carbon footprint is not the only benefit of using ground screws for solar arrays. In this post we’ll outline some of the many benefits to using ground screw foundations for ground mounted solar arrays.

Low Impact on the Local Environment

Traditionally, when creating a solar array using a concrete pad, there is a need for heavy machinery to excavate vast swathes of grassland on site. This can damage and distress the local flora and fauna, causing disruption to the local eco system. We must also consider additional use of fossil fuels in the excavation machinery and what happens to the excavated material upon removal.

Ground screws require no excavations to install, they’re simply driven into the ground with a turning machine or crawling rig. Even on sloped or uneven ground no excavations are needed, as screws can be driven in at different heights to create a perfectly level foundation. This greatly reduces the impact on site and use of fossil fuels, along with reducing costs and timescales of a project.

Unlike concrete pads and slabs, ground screws have minimal effect on site drainage. Not only does this stop sites becoming unduly bogged down or flooded during heavy rainfall, but it helps to retain the natural habitat of the local flora and fauna.

Stability & Strength

Once installed, the pressure of the soil and the helical blades on ground screws ensure they’re held tightly in place. This protects them from any uplifting sheering forces from high winds, which can be an problem for solar arrays.

Ground screws not only withstand high levels of sheering forces from wind, but they can also withstand large amounts of downward force, larger screws can withstand up to 75kN of point load each. This means that in areas where there is a risk of heavy winter snow fall, ground screws can easily withstand this additional weight, and, unlike concrete, frozen ground won’t pose a danger of damage to ground screw foundations.

Fast Installation

As we’ve mentioned previously, ground screws need minimal ground preparation, the area just needs to be free of rubble and have free access to the ground. There’s no need for ground works or excavations, and ground screws are ready to take load the moment they’re installed.
We can install tens of ground screws a day with our turning machines or for larger projects a crawl rig can be used, which can easily install a hundred ground screws in a single day. This can reduce foundation installation time from days to hours.

At Red Leaf Ground Screws we also offer the optional installation of a racking system for your solar array, removing the need to contract multiple additional companies to complete your installation.

Stability & Strength

Once installed, the pressure of the soil and the helical blades on ground screws ensure they’re held tightly in place. This protects them from any uplifting sheering forces from high winds, which can be an problem for solar arrays.

Ground screws not only withstand high levels of sheering forces from wind, but they can also withstand large amounts of downward force, larger screws can withstand up to 75kN of point load each. This means that in areas where there is a risk of heavy winter snow fall, ground screws can easily withstand this additional weight, and, unlike concrete, frozen ground won’t pose a danger of damage to ground screw foundations.

Fast Installation

As we’ve mentioned previously, ground screws need minimal ground preparation, the area just needs to be free of rubble and have free access to the ground. There’s no need for ground works or excavations, and ground screws are ready to take load the moment they’re installed.
We can install tens of ground screws a day with our turning machines or for larger projects a crawl rig can be used, which can easily install a hundred ground screws in a single day. This can reduce foundation installation time from days to hours.

At Red Leaf Ground Screws we also offer the optional installation of a racking system for your solar array, removing the need to contract multiple additional companies to complete your installation.

Sloped, uneven and bogged ground

Because ground screws need no excavations for install and can provide a level foundation on sloped and uneven ground. This allows for solar arrays to be placed in areas at may not otherwise be cost effective due to excavation costs or concrete limitations.

Waterlogged ground is also no problem for ground screws, longer screws can be installed in these areas to ensure the same level of stability and strength. Allowing for solar arrays to be installed on ground where excavations would be difficult, and concrete would struggle to fully cure.

Ease of Removal with Minimal Disruption

Unlike concrete pads and slabs, ground screws can be easily removed, replaced or moved.

If an array needs to be moved or reconfigured ground screw foundations can simply be removed and installed in a new layout, leaving absolutely no concrete to be broken up and removed. If additional arrays need to be installed on site, there’s no need to move in heavy equipment for excavations, new ground screws can be installed easily in the configuration required without causing disruption to other arrays.

When removed ground screws leave minimal damage to the area, the small holes left from the removal can easily be filled with soil or gravel if required.

Ease of Removal with Minimal Disruption

Unlike concrete pads and slabs, ground screws can be easily removed, replaced or moved.

If an array needs to be moved or reconfigured ground screw foundations can simply be removed and installed in a new layout, leaving absolutely no concrete to be broken up and removed. If additional arrays need to be installed on site, there’s no need to move in heavy equipment for excavations, new ground screws can be installed easily in the configuration required without causing disruption to other arrays.

When removed ground screws leave minimal damage to the area, the small holes left from the removal can easily be filled with soil or gravel if required.

Ground Screws: great solar array foundations

These are just some of the benefits to using ground screws over concrete for solar arrays and solar array foundations are only one of many projects where ground screws are a more sustainable and cheaper alternative to traditional concrete foundations. Their ease and speed of install, lack of site damage and sustainable credentials make them a great choice for ground mounted solar arrays of any size. They can also allow for solar arrays to be mounted in areas where concrete foundations would be costly or impractical to use.

Take a look at some of our ground screw applications to find out more about using ground screw foundations on projects other than garden rooms and home offices, or get in touch with our team today to discuss using ground screw foundations in your next project.

Not sure what you need? We can help

Still not sure if helical ground screws are suitable for your project? Unsure how to include them in your design or get them installed? Get in touch and we will be happy to help with your project.

DESIGN

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INSTALLATION

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